Feeding Frenzy

Jan 1, 2014 by Mike Bibb

There are pelicans and sea gulls and then there are really pelicans and seagulls.

One thing about Rocky Point and the Sea of Cortez, one doesn’t always know what to expect until it actually happens.  Sometimes these impromptu incidents defy belief.

Being a RP visitor for about 30 years and witnessing all sorts of goings-on, I’m continually amazed by the variety of sights and sounds originating within this coastal community.

Occasionally, Mother Nature gets into the act – in a big way.

During the first few weeks of December the shores of Puerto Peñasco and Sandy Beach were inundated with thousands of pelicans and sea gulls, providing an aerial display of incredible winged aerobatics.

It was a performance I’ve never seen before.

While the sky was churning with the feathered creatures, the waters below were equally turbulent – and not just from exuberant bird activity.

Apparently the cause for the avian invasion was the migrating presence of untold billions of small feeder fish which moved into the upper portions of the gulf, particularly the Rocky Point area.

I’m not certain the arrival of the massive schools of fish was due to climatic occurrences, or the biological urge to produce more little fishes, or a myriad of other natural causes. Whatever the motive, the birds seemed appreciative as they gorged daily upon the diminutive delicacies.

After several hours of continually darting, weaving and dive-bombing the unsuspecting waterborne morsels, the birds eventually tired and withdrew for a brief recess before resuming their feeding frenzy. As a result, the beaches and rocky outcroppings became carpeted with reposing pelicans, gulls and similar flying kindred.

The uncontested rule of nature – “The big ones eat the little ones” – stimulates the imagination into wondering what other mysterious surface, as well as subsurface; predators are prowling the deeper waters of the gulf.

Fortunately, the answer to this inquiry and others can easily be obtained from the knowledgeable staff at CEDO, a local natural history museum and educational center devoted to the study and research of animal and plant life in the Sea of Cortez. Located next to the large whale skeleton in the residential community of Las Conchas, the center also offers a book store, gift shop and library.

To reach CEDO, drive approximately one and one-half miles south on Blvd. Fremont, then turn right at the intersection of Blvd. Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.  A large Pemex station is on the corner.  Proceed past the technology school to the Las Conchas entrance.  The center is about an additional mile down the road.

CEDO can also be reached on the web at www.cedointercultural.org.

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