It appears I finally broke my consecutive post streak. Was on a roll thanks to outside forces driving me to get through as much of the Texas related birding encounters as possible. Deadline is still there, I just had the opportunity to enjoy a guilty pleasure this weekend – I happen to be part of a top ranking fake group on Rock Band and we were able to get the band together Friday. It has been awhile and we were all a bit rusty. We had a great time even though my arms are now sore from the night of drumming – I may have to start warming up before we play now eesh. Before you laugh at me too much, we have put our computer engineering skills to good use – our singer has modified a real mic and I have a full electronic Roland drum set that feeds through an Ion head to a midi converter to now an Xbox-360 to Xbox-One pigtail converter and then to the console. Thinking that still isn’t helping my case any ha! Reality of it all is I am now trying to get back in the posting saddle. Thanks to having to do this while traveling on the road, thought I would go with a post that doesn’t need a lot of research – had to leave my reference books at home.
Today’s featured post comes to you courtesy of Seawolf Park near Galveston Texas. We were visiting that location for the first time back in January 2017 which produced a number of intriguing experiences. While hunting for dolphins from their wharf, I spotted a Double-Crested Cormorant looking tauntingly at a nearby Brown Pelican. Screw the dolphins, this might turn out quite interesting.
Slowly their paths converged. An entire gulf of water to explore, yet each one refusing to yield their path to the other. Hubris had once again taken root in its victims giving false confidence to its host. So there it stood, the formidable Crested-Fu style of the Cormorant paired off against the more physically dominating Pelikido of the larger bodied Brown Pelican. Surely cooler heads wood prevail – maybe a respectful bow and mutual diversion of their conflicting trajectories.
Hit the jump to see how this angry bird encounter turns out!
Each combatant unsheathed their weapons and took defensive positions. About this time I noticed the Pelican had brought reserve forces in case the nimbleness of the Cormorant was able to counter its superior strength. This secondary force didn’t bother the Cormorant one bit. It had accepted fate knowing from the deep philosophy instilled in all bird martial arts “you have already lost when a situation devolves to battle – survival afterwards is an unexpected outcome, an outcome that plays no negative or positive influence on the immediate defense or offensive technique deployed”.
… and thus the battle began – initial first strikes successfully countered.
The war raged on, each utilizing their respective styles to ward off deathly attacks. Each adjusting their finely honed techniques to find a gap in their opponent’s defense, maybe an imbalance in their opponent’s strength that will give them the upper hand.
… and then it happened, perhaps overconfidence clouding judgement or age inflicting an unexpected microsecond delay in muscle reflexes. The Cormorant had seized on an opportunity.
With a mighty crushing blow, he had the larger Pelican on the ropes. Uncertainty was clearly invading the conscious taking up valuable canvas to plan out a recovery strategy. The Crested-Fu had gained the upper webbed foot. Surely the secondary Pelikido forces would engage to right this imbalance.
A last desperate move appears to have worked. The Pelican had resorted to brute strength in an attempt to overpower the attacker. The reserves looked on approvingly while the Cormorant struggled to regain control. Was this the beginning of the end. Would strength and weight win out over speed and agility ?!?!
Ah, but Crested-Fu was trained in ground battle, each practitioner spending hours on their backs learning how to manipulate their superior positioned opponent into putting too much weight on one side, maybe extending their appendages too far from their body making a leverage point for a throw or lock. The only variable being how much time the Cormorant could remain underwater. Sure enough, the Pelican overplayed his position opting to go for a quick submission. Feeling the Pelican move too far forward on his hips, the Cormorant pinned his opponent’s leg and engaged his own hips to throw the Pelican off.
The Cormorant had successfully countered the Pelicans attack – now drained, the Pelican was injured and forced to try and save bill,
The Cormorant was hell bent on insuring his opponent would never test his powers in the future. Striking out at every exposed feather, imparting painful sting after painful sting. The victor was known, only degree of defeat had yet to play out. Does one dishonor his master and turn tail and live to battle another day, or accept fate and meet the great feathered god in the sky.
… and high tail it is. Stripped of dignity, the Pelican opted for safer waters. The Cormorant having proved its worth looked on with satisfaction, even glancing at the reserves to see if they wanted to accept a similar fate. Nimbleness had out-dueled strength that day.
I had to laugh after witnessing this entire encounter. First off all, I was amazed at how aggressive that Cormorant was. Never knew about that characteristic in these birds. However, the most humorous aspect was the fact the Pelican’s reserve never once opted to engage to help its fellow bird. Nope, just floated there taking the whole thing in like a matinee. Apparently these Pelicans are all in it for themselves!
Hope you enjoyed my recollection of an intriguing experience -albeit with over the top creative licensing. There was another event soon after this that I’ll cover in an upcoming post – a lot more shocking for sure.