Observe the pelicans from about 2.30 pm onward... They start arriving one by one to shore where they congregate – the pod grows bigger over the hour.
By 3.30 pm, 80 or so pelicans troop together on the feeding platform waiting for volunteers to shove fish in their beaks.
Here’s what happened before the start of the show during our last visit…
2.30 pm – The first pelican arrives. It stood there until feeding time unbothered by tourists taking photos – it was happy to oblige.
2.45 pm – see the pelicans at the back on the photo below? They’ll all come over soon.
3.00 pm – the pod is starting to form on the feeding platform.
3.15 pm – more birds are waiting, waiting, waiting. And people too...
3.30 Pm – the show begins. Catering is on its way.
Some pelicans push their way to the front but volunteers make sure they all receive their fair share.
During the show volunteers explain facts about the Australian pelicans, how Pelican Feeding started and why it persisted to this day…
Pelican Feeding began in 1979.
A guy named Peter, who worked at Clifford's fish and chip shop, started feeding the pelicans during his lunch breaks. The birds soon became used to it. They started expecting food everyday.
When Peter was late, they would waddle across the road to the front of Clifford’s and waited.
Later The Entrance Town Centre Management took over Pelican Feeding. They obtained sponsors and started collecting donations.
Then the show grew into a big attraction at The Entrance NSW – about 200,000 tourists visit every year.
Pelican Feeding happens for a good cause:
During the show, volunteers look and care for injured pelicans particularly from fishing line and tackle.
Hide your mobile phone – no kidding. These birds are cheeky. Volunteers warn people to put their mobile phones away because “Pelicans can snatch things”.
I thought this was a joke until my son's candy cane mysteriously vanished from his hand. The second candy cane mysteriously vanished too.
As far as I know the candy canes didn’t vanish inside my son’s mouth... at least that’s what he tells me.
Sit at the front – a chance to see lots of pelicans up-close. They’re not scared of humans – they slapped us with their wings and trampled on our feet.
How much – free. But give a donation if you can. Donations help pay for the daily ration of fish. It allows volunteers to supervise the birds and check them for injury.
When – the show officially starts at 3.30 pm every single day of the year in any weather condition and goes for 30 minutes. But as I mentioned before, arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the start. I find it’s the best part of the show. Plus you’ll get a front seat.
Parking – a free car park is located beside Memorial Park.
Take your camera – pelicans like to pose for photos...