For six long years, a rescued pelican and his partner tried in vain to hatch eggs. Now, after a little help from Twinnies Pelican and Seabird Rescue in Queensland, Australia, Mr. Percival and his mate are finally celebrating parenthood for the first time.
In September, the carers placed an egg from another pelican into Mr. Percival’s nest, hoping to change his run of infertility. Australian pelicans are colonial breeders, and Mr. Percival took his role as expectant dad very seriously, sharing the 28-day incubation duties with his mate.
But most of all, they gushed, "This is true love for our Mr. Percival."
The paternal pelican stepped up to his fatherly duties like a pro. Pelican chicks are born blind and without feathers, so close and consistent parenting is crucial if they are to thrive.
"Mr. Percival goes for a swim and catches little fish then he feeds his little one," they marveled.
Twinnies, a rescue and rehabilitation center for sick, injured, and orphaned seabirds, has been taking care of Mr. Percival for almost two decades.
The elated father was once a young bird on Chambers Island in Maroochydore, Queensland. He became well known to Twinnies for getting himself tangled in fishing lines, but after a serious injury, Mr. Percival lost a wing.
Twinnies applied for a permit to bring him into their sanctuary. Australian pelicans have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, so the accident-prone pelican has achieved fatherhood just in the nick of time.
"When it’s feeding time it’s a different story," they added; "he tells the other baby pelicans to go to the other parents for a feed."
Watching the cheerful congregation of seabirds thriving together is "so beautiful," they said. This fall, Twinnies welcomed five pelican chicks in all.