[knock, knock, knock] Uh, hi. Me and my crew are working down the road and there's this bird. It keeps following us around and my guys are scared of it.
Yes sir, I'll be happy to help if I can. Could you tell me what type of bird it is? (I reach for a net)
It's one of those birds with a big bill. You know, about this long...(spreads hands to indicate about 10 inches) Plus, it's got like duck feet. You know?
Are you talking about a pelican? (my eyebrows raise inquiringly and I put my inadequate net back against the wall)
Yeah, yeah...that's what it is, a pelican. (vigorous nodding) I couldn't think of what they were called, but I saw one on TV once.
And you say your crew is working nearby here?
Yes m'am. Just out on the highway there. You know, in the median.
I'll follow you in my truck...
Sure enough, it was a pelican. A pelican "terrorizing" a DOT crew working in the median of the highway. The poor guys were tucked safely in their trucks and didn't get out until I got out of my truck. Seems they were putting out signs and traffic cones and this pelican just started following them around.
Not wanting to startle the pelican, I approached it slowly. It just stood there, calm as could be. I raised the binoculars to read the band on its leg and recorded as much of the number as I could. Meanwhile I was trying to think of who to call to help me wrangle a pelican -- didn't want the bird to fly out onto the road because it's a busy highway. Assuring the work crew that I would be back as quick as I could I headed back to the park. Close to our parking lot I spotted a county animal control truck and flagged him down. Yipee! Help.
Me: Hi, how you doing? You have anything in your truck to catch a pelican?
Animal Control Officer: So that's what it is, eh? A pelican. Dispatch said there was a report of a bearded duck out here not letting people out of their cars. I saw your truck as I passed. Is it out there on the highway?
Me: Yep and the DOT guys are not happy.
ACO: I've got a net... (Sheriff's Deputy wheels in) Hey, Deputy! That bearded duck call is about a pelican. The ranger here saw it.
Deputy: Heh. I thought dispatch was gonna choke trying to keep from laughing about the bearded duck. (Another animal control truck rolls up.)
Me: Hi. How are your pelican wrangling skills?
Second ACO: Guess we'll find out. I was kinda hoping it really was a bearded duck...
First ACO: Ranger Swampy says it's out there with the DOT crew. Guess we better head that way...
Deputy: No hurry. I saw a big bird take off when I passed that work crew just now. Sure didn't know it was the bearded duck...