French fries for Fred

Photos of some 3,000 bird species were submitted to the inaugural World Bird Contest by photographers from around the world; the winners were just published.*

My entries would have been the top and bottom pictures in this series on Fred at the Dubbo Zoo in New South Wales, Australia. I imagine the fact they were taken at a zoo disqualified them right off the bat.

I was invited to fly to Australia, all expenses paid, by Andrew and Joanne Boog after my first husband died and I spent a month with them in Dubbo. Our visit to the zoo included lunch on a bench from which Joanne casually tossed a “chip” into the maw of a curious pelican.

Immediately four more pelicans, a couple of ibis and a moorhen lined up behind Fred– and then we were swamped. You don’t know how big and intimidating a pelican, even the most polite pelican, can look until you are eye to eye with him while sitting on a bench out in the open, surrounded by nothing but–more pelicans.

(BTW, would you believe if you Google “What is the plural of ibis?” you’ll see at least 60 websites–I stopped counting after six pages–addressing the issue. Serious contenders, discounting ibi and ibid, are ibis, ibises, ibides and ibes. Apparently all are correct, although my spellcheck rejects the classical plurals, ibides and ibes.)

Here’s Fred, waiting for me to finish my rant and feed him French fries. When he opens his canoe-sized beak, big enough to swallow my face, you can believe I won’t hesitate to fling into that abyss whatever he wants, perhaps even my firstborn.

*Enjoy them at:


About Jessica Renshaw
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One Response to French fries for Fred

  1. Mrs. N says:

    Lol…I laughed-cute post! I think I’d be kind of intimidated by them too!

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