Sea Lions Vs. Pelicans (Avila Beach)

I never knew that a sea lion would eat a birds. On this afternoon, I was witness to 3 bloody attacks. Usually 2-3 sea lions surround a pelican and maul it until it can’t fly, then they rip it to shreds and devour the bloody breast meat. A gruesome sight and one which I didn’t explain to Max. The fishermen on the pier were eager to point this out because they’d gotten some bad press recently (more here) about supposedly injuring the birds who were trying to steal their catch. The most likely cause of pelican injury mentioned in the articles may be collateral damage from the feeding frenzy that occurs naturally when large schools of small fish swim by and sea lions and pelicans and cormorants compete for meals. One pier watcher told me that the fisherman compounded the natural problem because they dumped lots of filleted fish, causing many of the pelicans to peck at their gullets in vain attempts to disgorge stuck bones--a self injury which in turn attracts the seal lions to an easy victim.
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