Pelican Gets Trapped In Whale's Mouth, All For The Love Of Anchovies

Sometimes a good meal isn't worth the trouble.

Photographer Kate Cummings captured the moment a pelican got caught in the mouth of a humpback whale as both converged on a school of anchovies last month in Monterey Bay, California.

(Story continues below images)

  • Kate Cummings / Blue Ocean Whale Watch
  • Kate Cummings / Blue Ocean Whale Watch
  • Kate Cummings / Blue Ocean Whale Watch

The school of anchovies attracted a gathering of whales, sea lions and birds. The pelican became trapped after it failed to fly skyward quickly enough after its dive.

"What's funny is you can tell the pelicans in this situation were lifting off the water much faster than they typically do after diving for anchovies," Cummings told The Huffington Post. "It was obvious they were doing so in a hurry as to avoid the surfacing whales. This guy's timing was a bit off."

The pelican managed to break free when the whale opened its jaws again. Cummings, of Blue Ocean Whale Watch, reported that the bird appeared uninjured as it "hopped across the ocean surface away from the whales."

She pointed out that humpbacks, which usually eat fish like anchovies, cod, sardines and mackerel, "have no interest in eating birds."

Needless to say, it was still a scary moment for the lucky pelican that lived to hit the anchovy buffet another day.



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