Pelican Feeding at The Entrance NSW

Pelican Feeding happens at 3.30 pm every single day of the year at The Entrance Memorial Park.

Volunteers feed fish to a pod of Australian pelicans in front of a delighted audience...

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Pelican Feeding - The Entrance

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.

Before Feeding Begins...

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. 

Pelican - The Entrance

2.45 pm – see the pelicans at the back on the photo below? They’ll all come over soon.

Pelican - The Entrance

3.00 pm – the pod is starting to form on the feeding platform.

Pelicans

3.15 pm – more birds are waiting, waiting, waiting. And people too...

Pelican

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.

Pelican Feeding at The Entrance

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.

Pelicans

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. 

Pelican Feeding - Visitor Information

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...

Pelican

Facts About Australian Pelicans

  • Eight species of pelicans exist around the world on every continent except Antarctica.
  • The Australian Pelican is the only species found in Australia. About 300,000 – 500,000 live in Australia, 500 live here in Tuggerah Lakes and around 80 turn up at Pelican Feeding.
  • They live wherever there’s water. They’re opportunist and adaptable so they migrate wherever the conditions are favourable. Thousands of pelicans migrate to Lake Eyre when it fills with water. How these birds know when Lake Eyre fills up is a mystery. 
  • The birds that attend Pelican Feeding have free fish catered all year round so they don't need to migrate inland.
  • The Australian pelican is the largest of all pelican species and they also have the longest beak. Their pouch can hold 13 litres of water.
  • They eat mainly fish. Just to stay alive they need to eat 1- 2 kg of fish every day. They can also eat turtles, prawns, crustaceans, tadpoles and frogs. When they’re desperately hungry they eat seagulls and pelican chicks. They even forage on garbage dumps.
  • They work in group to catch food. They attract fish to the shallow areas by splashing the water with their wings then they plunge their beaks in the water to grab the fish.
  • A story of a pelican eating a small Chihuahua circulates around (I’m not sure if it’s the truth or a myth). The birds at The Entrance have plenty to eat so don’t worry about small-size family members.
  • They weight 4-8 kg. Their skeleton weighs one tenth of their total body weight and they have air sacs in their bones and under their skin so they’re buoyant.
  • They can glide on thermals as high as 3000 metres for about 24 hours and travel hundreds of kilometres.

Plan Your Visit to The Entrance 


› Pelican Feeding

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