Great White Pelicans are huge birds that you really don’t want to get too close to, and their numbers have recently doubled in St James’s Park.
Fortunately, from just three to six — and the new arrivals all came from Prague Zoo.
The pelicans – named Sun, Moon and Star – arrived in the park towards the end of May but have been hidden from public view whilst they acclimatise to their new surroundings. They’ve now been released to join the three resident pelicans – Isla, Tiffany and Gargi.
Pelicans have been a feature of St James’s Park since 1664 when the Russian Ambassador presented them to King Charles II. Since then over 40 pelicans have made St James’s Park, one of London’s eight Royal Parks, their home. The flock are fed their fresh fish, roach and whiting, at 2.30pm every day by the wildlife officer.
They are also quite partial to pigeons.
Hatched in February, the new pelicans are nearing their adult size and within the next six months will turn completely white. The males, Moon and Sun are brothers, and Star – so called because of the spot on her forehead – is a female.
The latest arrivals were hand-reared in Prague Zoo, and the Royal Park has been attempting to reduce their tameness by keeping human contact to a minimum and only entering the pen to feed them and clean the enclosure.
Occasionally they will wander over to the human side of the park, but the Park is advising people not to approach as they are trying to de-tame the birds.