The Entrance is a small town on the New South Wales central coast of Australia, about 60 miles north of Sydney. There every day at 3.30pm the incredible spectacle of about 100 noisy, jostling pelicans being fed can be observed.
Pelican feeding has taken place at The Entrance for more than 30 years, at first casually by the staff of a local fish shop but since 1996 on a specially built platform known as Pelican Plaza. Over the years it has become a major tourist attraction on The Entrance waterfront.
But it’s not all about tourism. One of the main objectives of the pelican feed is to monitor the pelicans’ health and to check for any hooks and lines the birds may have got tangled with. The feeding provides an opportunity for wildlife staff and volunteers to assess the overall well-being of the pelicans in a large group.
The Australian pelican is the largest of the eight species around the world and also has the longest beak: its pouch can hold 13 litres of water. Pelicans eat mainly fish and need 1-2 kg every day just to stay alive.
The Entrance takes its name from the narrow channel which connects Tuggerah Lake to the Pacific Ocean. It is popular with retirees and holidaymakers, offering a variety of water activities including fishing and boating.