Pelican ruffles feathers by swapping Fota Wildlife Park for a 'staycation' in Wicklow

Pelican ruffles feathers by swapping Fota Wildlife Park for a 'staycation' in Wicklow

A Great White Pelican has flown the nest from Fota Wildlife Park and is currently enjoying a ‘staycation’ on the Avoca River in Wicklow.Picture: Andy Gibson.

A Great White Pelican has flown the nest from Fota Wildlife Park and is currently enjoying a ‘staycation’ on the Avoca River in Wicklow.

This is the second time the pelican has swapped Cork for the sunnier climate of Leinster. 

The last time he took off with his half-brother and enjoyed a bit of downtime in Wexford, but this time he is flying solo on his latest adventure.

His latest holiday has ruffled a few feathers in Fota Wildlife Park who are embarrassed the pelican has embarked on another staycation.

Fota Wildlife Park Director Sean McKeown speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland said he is confident the bird will return to its natural habitat in Fota once again. 

“He did it before in 2018 when he went off to Wexford. He thinks that Wexford is a great place for a staycation. I think the people in Cork will be disputing that. We are hopeful he will return at the end of September or the beginning of October,” he said.

Mr McKeown said staff in Fota Wildlife Park are ‘embarrassed’ the Great White Pelican has taken off on another journey. 

“They are beautiful birds. He has been in the park since 2012 so he is about 11 years old now. We are a bit embarrassed that he has gone off again."

"It is good in one way that he can fly off and enjoy a bit of time outside the park, but we would prefer if he stayed inside the park,” he added.

The Director of Fota Wildlife Park said the pelican could also be tempted to swap Ireland for the continent. 

“He could head off for the continent, possibly over to Greece and Romania where there are other great white pelicans. His half-brother is here in the park so he is likely to return here.” 

Pelicans are one of the largest flying birds in the world. They are typically found in swamps and shallow lakes around Southeast Europe, Asia, and Africa.

They can fly for a whole day and night without stopping, covering distances up to 300 miles.

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