Pelican odors

 

On this page, I will I try to explain to the gentle pelican friend the different odors of the plumage of the 7 pelican species living in Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde.  

As one or the other visitor may be wondering what a pelican smells like I embarked on an exploratory mission and sniffed my way through almost all species ;-)

The idea was born from a whimsy in 2009 but in the course of working on the website I pursued the odors project and of course it took some time to smell my way through the birds.

At first, one of course needs to win the confidence of the animals before they let you get close enough. And not every bird of every species was keen on my project.

Listed below is a decription of the odors, or odor zones of the various pelican species.

Australian Pelicans

In the head and neck region, the plumage smells medium to strong of freshly-caught fish and sea air as familiar from the Baltic or North Sea. In the chest area, the smell is more musty, due to the preen gland oil transported here by the beak. The wing feathers only have a faint fresh fish odor.

 

American White Pelicans

The entire plumage has a rather neutral odor, apart from a slight whiff of fish. However, particularly after swimming, there can be a strong suplphurous odor smell in the head and neck region. The chest area has a somewhat musty smell of preen gland oil.

 

Dalmatian Pelicans

In the head and neck region, the plumage smells very intensely and somewhat pungently of something like vinegar essence. The wing feathers are almost odorless, with only the slightest fish odor. Like in all pelicans, the chest area smells a little musty of preen gland oil.

 

Great White Pelicans

The plumage in the head and neck region smells relatively neutral to fishy, especially after being in the water. The remaining plumage including the wings and chest have a neutral odor.

 

Peruvian Pelicans

In the head and neck region, the plumage smells rather intensely of freshly fried pig liver. The wing feathers have only a faint fresh fish odor. The chest area also smells a little musty due to the preen gland oiling.

 

Pink-backed Pelicans

In the head and neck region and the chest, the plumage smells rather intensely of fish while the wings smell neutral, like in all other pelicans. A stay in the water intensifies the smell in this species as well.

 

Spot-billed Pelicans

The entire plumage has a rather neutral odor which may change after time spent in the water, when the odor can turn more fishy.

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