Here at Fstoppers we featured many animal-related GoPro videos in the past [here are a few as a reminder: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5], and all are unique and interesting. Some are visually stunning. But this video taken by a pelican takes home the award for the most beautiful video ever taken by an animal.
One of the unique things about this video is the way the GoPro was mounted on the pelican. The camera was mounted on its beak aiming toward the bird itself instead of straight on like in most bird-related videos. This gives a more stable-looking video, and shows the bird in all its glory while flying over the water. Maybe calling it a "bird's-eye view" is not the most accurate term, but calling this a 'rear-view mirror view' is kind of weird when we talk about birds.
There is also a very interesting story behind this video. This young pelican lost his flock during a big storm, and found his way to the resort beach at Lake Tanganyika located in Tanzania. He didn't know how to fly, and he couldn't catch his own fish to eat. Luckily for him, resort employees came for the rescue and took care of him: they gave him food and even taught him how to fly.
Here is the full story told by resort employees:
"It was nearly 4 months ago now that Big Bird swam in from Lake Tanganyika and promptly waddled up our beach here to the astonishment of lunching guests. There had been a big storm that day and he may have been sucked up into a large cumulonimbus storm cell and relocated on the lake. The nearest flock of Great White pelicans is considered to be in Katavi national park around 150kms away as the crow flies.
He was young but already large, maybe 3 months old then. He couldn't fish without his flock. This species doesn't dive for fish, instead they corral the fish co-operating with each other and then scoop the cornered prey into their large stretchy pouches below the bill. So we have been given permission from Tanapa, the park authority to feed him.
We only recently worked out that he is a male due to the size and shape of his bill and the colour of his facial mask (pink). He was all brown when he arrived but the colours are really coming through now and his pouch, legs and face are changing to bright yellow and pink, the colour of the mature birds. The male is also larger and can grow to 12 or 15 kgs and have a wingspan of around 3.6m. Only the Wandering Albatross has a greater wingspan of around 3.8m. So this Great White boy of ours is amongst the largest flying birds on the planet, up there with the Marabou Stork and Andean Condor.
He didn't fly for some weeks but with encouragement he got the idea. We aren't sure how much flying he may have already done before arriving here but he was pretty shaky in his next attempts on the beach. We would run up and down flapping our arms and simulating flight for him. He would look on curiously until one day he showed us how it was done! It was short and uncontrolled and we would look away when he was landing as he seemed to not distinguish between ground and air speed coming in way too fast and endangering our beach furniture."