Pelicans – A nuisance or not?

We’ve all seen the pelicans floating in the Oceanside Harbor, pooping on the docks, and constantly following the sportfishing boats.  These large birds try to steal the bait from the bait barge and provide comedic relief when they fall in.  At least they are not as loud and annoying as the giant dogs some call California Sea Lions.  But, really, are pelicans that much of a nuisance?

Check out this neat video which might brighten your day – starring a pelican.


While the pelicans can be a pain to deal with in the harbor, captains and crews use them to lock on to potential fish.  Have you ever heard of the bird’s nest on a boat?  Were you wondering why the deckhand was given a radio and told to go to the highest point of the vessel?  It is most likely because we’re trying to search for activity on the horizon which may lead us to fish.

The pelicans are a great help because they fly high above the horizon and dive down on a school of bait, causing a raucous on the ocean surface.  Many a time, these birds are diving on large schools of bait which have been corralled to the surface by schools of migratory game fish, such as yellowtail, dorado, and tuna.

So, these pelicans, even though a nuisance at the dock, tend to be very helpful in finding the prized game fish.  We’ll let you decide whether they are a valued asset to fishermen, or just a reason to clean up the docks.