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Watching the Pelican Feeding

Pelican Feeding at Ian Dipple Lagoon Labrador

Pelicans on lamppost at Labrador. Don't park or stand underneath!
Pelicans on lamppost at Labrador.
Don't park or stand underneath!










Gold Coast pelicans are fed Tuesdays to Sundays through most of the year at Labrador. On this page you will find out more about where to go to see the pelicans being fed, hints and tips and lots of photos.

Australian pelicans fascinate me!

They always have, from the first time I saw them from the beach in Mandurah, Western Australia swooping down and scooping up whitebait in their beaks and flying away with wriggling whitebait half in and half out! 

Australian pelican photo showing white body with black feathers on back
Australian Pelican white body
with black feathers on back

It's just one of the those memories.

Australian pelicans are white pelicans.  They have mostly white feathers on their bodies with black feathers along their backs.

Living in Labrador for several years and walking past the Ian Dipple Lagoon almost daily, I got to see these funny birds every day!

Australian pelican flying
Australian Pelican flying

But can you believe it took several years before I got to see the daily ritual of pelican feeding by the Charis Seafood staff.

On the Gold Coast you see pelicans flying around most of the time.  

Pelicans in flight are very graceful, almost majestic.

Usually you can see one or two on the sandbars in the broadwater, or perched up in high in the trees or the lampposts.

On any given day by midday more and more are appearing. You think that the feeding must be around the corner, but it doesn't happen until around 1.30pm!

It is so funny to watch them jostling for position on the lamp posts.  

Pelican flying above the broadwater
Pelican flying above the broadwater

There might be six birds sitting on the post and then you see another pelican flying around that obviously has it's sights set on that lamp post.

Wings outstretched in it comes.  

Feet thrust forward ready for landing!

A pelican landing is a hilarious at the best of times, but to see one have to abort the landing because those other four are NOT moving is just side splitting! Hilarious...

The flapping of wings by all the four, the sidestepping.

If only I could talk pelican I reckon I'd learn some interesting new words!!!

Pelican landing photo showing a pelican coming into land - don' t laugh or they'll poop on your car!
Pelican landing photo showing a pelican coming into land - don' t laugh
or they'll poop on your car!

Pelicans are such an icon on the Gold Coast and the influx of birds waiting for the 1.30pm feeding at Labrador is something that you could easily miss if you didn't visit this part of the Gold Coast.

Pelican in flight
Pelican in flight looking for a place to land!

Don't miss it, put it into your itinerary. For example, if you are heading to HarbourTown to do some bargain shopping, why not check out the Pelicans on the way or on the way back.

Back to the plot.... As the time gets closer a squadron of pelicans appears.

Yes, I had to look that up, a group of pelicans is not a flock of pelicans but is in fact known as a squadron!

Gradually the squadron flies down from the lamp posts.

View of the beach at Labrador whilst waiting for the pelican feeding.
View of the beach at Labrador whilst
waiting for the pelican feeding.

They proceed to swim up and down the lagoon intimidating the swimmers!

At first the kids think it is funny to try to get close, but then come running back when they realise these aren't ducks!

These are huge birds, with very long and threatening looking beaks.

The Charis Seafood back doors open about 1.30pm and the bucket appears - I don't think they notice the person, just the food container.

Pelicans on Ian Dipple Lagoon at Labrador waiting to be fed
Pelicans on Ian Dipple Lagoon
waiting to be fed

All of a sudden these huge birds move together towards the shore and waddle up the beach.

Chaos ensues! In the bucket is fish and squid remenants from Charis - but these birds don't care.  

A fish carcass is tossed into the air and a beak or three move to catch it!  Unless the catch is a direct one and the whole carcass is inside the beak, a fight breaks out to get that food.

Watching pelicans eating definitely won't help your children's table manners - but it is well worth a visit to watch this. Also a good excuse to have fish and chips at Charis or The Grand Hotel which is just opposite the lagoon. 

Pelican feeding first there was one, then a few and finally the squadron appeared on the beach!
Pelican feeding - first there was one, then a few and
finally, the squadron appeared on the beach!

I really enjoyed seeing these wild pelicans so close.  For me it was a great opportunity to get these pelican photos and many more!

Photos of pelican feeding at Ian Dipple Lagoon, Labrador on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia
Pelican feeding frenzy at Labrador

I hope you enjoy this collection of pelicans pictures from that day.

I just couldn't help thinking these were pelicans in paradise!

Do I have any hints and tips for watching the pelican feeding at Labrador?

Well, just a couple!

  • Arrive early at least 30 minutes before, if not a bit more. Therefore arrive before 1pm. Expect to stay about an hour. Sometimes they feed them a little earlier, so best to be there ahead of time and watch the spectacle unfold before your eyes!
  • This is a FREE activity in Labrador.
  • Bring your camera - still and video cameras are good here
  • Bring the sunscreen and a hat
  • Bring the kids, towels and bathers if they want to splash around in the water before the pelicans are fed (or after!)
  • Bring a picnic rug to sit on whilst you eat some Fish & Chlps from Charis Bros Seafood
  • Bring some sausages to put on the BBQs and make an afternoon of it.
  • Shaded and fenced playground for the youngsters.
  • Public toilets and showers which are quite reasonable.
  • If you want an ice cream - a short stroll south along Marine Parade brings you to Aqua Building where there are range of cafes and restaurants and a very convenient Baskin Robbins for a well deserved icecream.
  • Don't park your car under a lamp post or tree - seriously! They can have a field day whilst waiting to be fed!
Pelican feeding outside Charis Seafood at Labrador at 1.30pm every day Charis is open.
Pelican feeding outside Charis Seafood at Labrador
at 1.30pm every day Charis is open.

More Photos of Pelicans and the Pelican Feeding at Labrador

Pelican feeding at Charis Seafood, Labrador.
Pelican feeding at Charis Seafood


Cheeky seagulls watching pelican feeding from the safety of the Charis Seafood roof!
Cheeky seagulls watching pelican feeding
from the safety of the Charis Seafood roof!

Where is The Pelican Feeding in Gold Coast?

You will see Pelicans around the Gold Coast in various spots, but they seem to love the Broadwater in particular. The pelicans are fed at Charis Bros Seafood and Kiosk which is located off Frank Street in Labrador. Check the map of pelican feeding location below for some other features of the area, including some places to eat, grab a coffee, have lunch or eat an ice-cream (check out Baskin Robbins Ice Creams at Aqua)

Want to find out more about Labrador and the Gold Coast?

Labrador is just one of the many suburbs of the Gold Coast, if you are looking for information on the many suburbs and areas of the Gold Coast including information about accommodation, getting around, golf courses and much more check out my Gold Coast Suburbs Guide.

When is the best time to visit Labrador Gold Coast?
That depends upon what you want to do, when you can come, your budget and what kind of weather you'd prefer! Check out my guide to the best time to visit the Gold Coast.



 

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