Formation Flying~


fly in formation.

The birds in the back coast,

on the updraft from the birds in the front.

They swap positions regularly,

so no one gets tired.

Cooperation is a powerful force,

and much more fun than fighting.

Cheers to you from the pelis who can cooperate~

214 thoughts on “Formation Flying~

  1. Oh, lovely. Just before we left I saw a check line (not quite a ‘V’) of Canada Geese!
    Had to have been 30 or 40!

    A few years back while visiting Florida I got and up close an person photo of a Peli-can ‘hamming it up’ for the camera at the end of a peir.

    Cheers for a great 2022 to you two and two and Four-Ever GR8!

  2. They are an amazing bird Cindy. It always amazes me that they all look exactly the same around the world…but different colors. Must have been the fish they eat ๐Ÿคฃ. Great pictures dear lady, may there be many more for the new year ๐Ÿ˜€ โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿฆ‹ โœจ ๐ŸŽ‡ ๐Ÿ’ฅ ๐ŸŒน ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿธ ๐ŸŒˆ ๐Ÿ•Š ๐Ÿ’ซ

    1. They are amazing. I have seen them all over the world, and encountering them in distant places is like greeting an old friend. They are MUCH bigger to the south (everything is) and the most amazing diving/fishing pelicans I have ever seen were off the island of St. Croix. Happiest New Year to you Mark and I so look forward to sharing another virtual year with you my friend.

      1. Thank you dear lady, and I look forward to a New Year with your magic too. Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿฆ‹ โœจ ๐ŸŽ‡ ๐Ÿ’ฅ ๐ŸŒน ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿธ ๐ŸŒˆ ๐Ÿ•Š ๐Ÿ’ซ

  3. I still remember how thrilled I was the first time I saw pelicans flying in formation like this! We were visiting friends who had a house at the beach (just north of Del Mar), and the pelicans flew right over the deck! It was awesome, and I love your photos of their formations and how they cooperate! Thank you!

    1. When I was a child pelicans were relatively rare because DDT had made them endangered. Now the thrilling sight you are describing is something that can be witnessed often, which is a true blessing. I am happy you saw this and that it thrilled you. Stay safe & well my Kathy.

  4. Wonderful fotos, thank you for sharing. You are right: cooperation is a powerful force, we always see this in spring when the migratory birds fly back in formation from the south and in autumn when they fly south. I wish you the best for 2022, Marie

  5. The red bill stripes and the formation flying in these fantastic photos were both new to me.

    Love the contrast between the ungainly look of pelicans standing on land (or floating on the water surface) and the masterful grace of pelicans in flight.  It’s like the contrast between penguins waddling on land and penguins flying underwater.

    1. You are so right in your comparison with penguins on land and in the water. This is also true of ungainly seals on land who are ballet dancers in the water. Also definitely true with boobies who are masters in the sky but have really bad landing gear!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. They are such beautiful creatures who are certainly smarter than we are most of the time. Outstanding shots of these birds. Hope you had a merry Christmas and wishing you the happiest of new years.

  7. Until I was 11 years old, I was able to live next to a beach in Peru and the pelicans were the inescapable company because it was a fishing port. Their formations were like an army on the march when they came to the beach in search of food. Your incredible photos have brought back these memories. Greetings Cindy.

    1. The close up shots in this post are Peruvian Pelicans taken in the coastal town of Coquimbo Chile. I have seen and photographed Peruvian Pelican in gorgeous Peru as well. Peruvian Pelicans are the King of pelicans. They are so richly colored. So brave. They are almost as tall as I am and not the least bit intimidated. I love them and your beautiful memories of wonderful Peru. We had been many times and hope to visit again soon. Happy New Year my friend แƒ“

  8. Beautiful photos, Cindy! I loved watching squadrons of pelicans flying in formation when I visited NorCal many years ago. In terms of cooperation, we humans could learn a thing or two from them. <3

  9. Pingback: Formation Flying~ โ€” (A gift to us, from Cindy. Beauty.) | Rethinking Life

  10. I’ve seen Eagles doing the same thing Cindy. The breeze comes off the water and is diverted upwards by the shoreline, giving uplift for our fine feathered friends! Many birds travel this way, saves on fuel!

  11. Ahh and the pelican says, โ€œYes I can fly! Iโ€™m PeliCan not PeliCanโ€™t and I need no pelichute.โ€ Lol! Awesome my friend as always! (โ€ขโ€พโŒฃโ€พโ€ข)ูˆ ฬ‘ฬ‘โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

  12. Cindy, wondrous commentary on cooperation. Naturally, the birds can give us a lesson we need today.
    During my morning walks I listen for the sounds of the geese flying in formation as they migrate for the winter. I just love it when I hear them, and I wonder whether they follow the same rules your pelicans do with changing positions in flight? Makes sense.
    I used to hear them every morning with large groups, but now it seems there are only a few stragglers…but even a group of six flies in formation. Amazing creatures.
    Hope your twin boys love the birds as much as you do!

    1. Your morning walks sound magical Sheila. I would love to hear and see your geese. So much is being learned about how/why birds fly in formation, how they navigate thousands of miles, and how they can fly so far and survive. It is all so complex and fascinating. The twins are learning the names of all The Holler birds and wait by the French doors in the mornings for the roadrunner to come stare them down! Happy & Healthy New Year to you and yours Sheila แƒ“แƒ“

      1. The twins sound magical!!! We have had Covid rob us of our family time this Christmas as it has so many other families for the past two years. It gets closer and closer with each wave until it finally strikes our hearts.
        Happy and Healthy Safe New year to you and yours, too!

          1. Oh, Cindy…I’m afraid not. These have been trying times for us for the last week – our son and daughter-in-law have been sick with the virus for over a week, and our little Ella got it this week. Needless to say, we have been devastated. Our son has had 3 negative tests this week but our daughter-in-law and Ella remain ill. We took food to them last night – they have put a little stool outside the kitchen window where we can leave things and talk to them through the window. Ella was in good spirits – as she always is – but doesn’t understand why we can’t visit. As my grandfather used to say, Hard times done came upon us.
            But we have to hope all will be well. Pretty and I tested twice and have been negative both times. Neither of us has symptoms. Thank you for asking and for your loving support.

            1. Oh no! I am so sorry. So scary for all of you. I am so afraid for the younger children who are not qualified for vaccination. You must be so too. You know my twin grandsons are the same age and in the same situation. I am frustrated that our policy makers are ignoring the youngest amongst us who are so vulnerable due to immature immune systems. I hear more of the little ones are getting sick now with omicron. I am so glad you and Pretty have been spared. My thoughts and hopes are with all of you. If everybody is hanging in there after a week, that is very hopeful and good news, as is the fact that your son is recovering. So VERY sorry Sheila. This is going to be happening to lots of families over the next two months.

  13. petespringerauthor

    My dad was part of the recovery team of the Aleutian Canada Goose (now called the Aleutian Cackling Goose)โ€”a subspecies of the familiar Canada Goose. I’ve read that geese also switch positions as the lead goose has to work the hardest. They fly from the Aleutian Islands (Alaska) to the Central Valley of California and sometimes to Mexico during migration.

    1. What a very cool Dad! I imagine you have some wonderful memories of trips with him. Bird migrations are simply incredible and so complex. We are only just beginning to understand all the complex interplay of factors that enable to carry out these amazing feats every year. Birds are incredible and I love the name Cackling Goose! So descriptive แƒ“

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  15. Looking at one close, the bird is more majestic than I imagined them before. Great pictures of them flying in formation and some even close to see details. I loved watching them fly in formation when I lived down in Fl.

    1. The last time I was in St James Park, I had just returned from self driving South Africa. I toured the park, photographed a fox family stalking and playing, African Geese resting, and Egyptian Pelicans (that were a gift to a former King) swimming. I had this eerie and true sense I was still on safari in Central London!!

  16. One of the treats of spending time at the NC beaches is watching the pelicans fly overhead. So primitive in their appearance – but we especially like to see them diving for food off the beach.

    1. They are a puzzle aren’t they. They look so odd, but are such amazing precision flyers and spectacular when they dive vertically into the sea and come up with a fish! Happy New Year Emma.

    1. Yes, they do look too heavy, don’t they. The wonder lies in how they are able fly, and fish, so easily. Wishing only things good for you and your hubby in 2022 Charlotte แƒ“แƒ“

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