Pink-backed Pelican spotted in Breda

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Another Pink-backed Pelican has been spotted in The Netherlands, this time in a residential area in Breda.  On Saturday morning in the Waterdonken neighborhood in Breda, a Pink-backed Pelican was seen by residents. The pelican is a very rare sighting in the Netherlands as they originate from the Black Sea coasts of Romania and Bulgaria, and also occur in Africa.

This is the second sighting this week of the water bird with a wingspan of three meters. The pelican was not tagged, and looked to be in good condition. Earlier sightings of Pink-backed Pelicans were reported above the Neeltje Jans, at the mouth of the Oosterschelde. Park Ranger Ted Sluijter of Natuurmonumenten saw two Pelicans. He took a photo of the pair when they flew over. In Gent, in Belgium, Pelicans were seen as well. Last Friday, Dutch birders confirmed the images as well when one flew by Wemeldinge. It is still debated whether these are wild Pelicans. "The bird is not tagged and has beautiful feathers, but it's difficult to see if he comes from wild origins or escaped from a zoo in, for example, Belgium. An independent group of observers must make this decision. If you see a Pink-backed Pelican fly over, so majestic,  wild or not, he makes a great impact", Sluijter said. Co-workers from the bird center in Zundert inspected the bird, to see if it was harmed. It seemed that the pelican was in good order. The co-workers threw the bird a fish, to see if it could still respond normally. The Pelican did react, but missed the fish. He then decided to fly some circles above Waterdonken, and disappeared to an unknown location. The procession of birders descending on the bird center were very angry with the co-workers. According to one of them, there were still between 50 and 100 people on their way to Breda to catch a glimpse of this rare wild bird.