Outback Pelicans

About

The Australian pelican is built for long-distance travel. One of the largest pelicans in the pelican family, with a light skeleton and a wingspan of over eight feet, it can be airborne all day and deep into the night, riding far and high on rising thermals. When rare weather systems bring heavy rains, huge numbers of Australian pelicans abandon the sea and coastal waters and embark on a mass pilgrimage to a place a thousand miles inland. It’s the last place you would look for one of their kind – the Australian Outback, one of the driest, hottest places on the planet.

They are heading for Lake Eyre, an empty, salt-crusted lake bed that covers an area the size of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, combined. It lies 50 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point in Australia, a vast drainage basin in the heart of desert. The floods from the rains are headed here, too, filling dry riverbeds with water which will transform this desolate place into pelican heaven. With the water comes a host of new life that offers a feast to the birds – fish and frogs, crustaceans and shrimp. The pelicans settle in at Lake Eyre for as long as the water lasts, to court and breed and raise a new generation in this unlikely sanctuary.

But what exactly triggers their journey? How do they find their way? How do they know what is waiting for them? And where do they go when they leave? NATURE looks for answers to questions researchers are only now beginning to unravel.

Production Credits Print

NARRATED BY
CHRIS MORGAN

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
HUGH MARKS

PRODUCED BY
TINA DALTON

DIRECTED BY
SUSAN MCMILLAN

CINEMATOGRAPHER
MALCOLM LUDGATE ACS

EDITOR
MARK FOX

SCRIPT
MICHAEL BRIGHT

MUSIC COMPOSER
BRETT APLIN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
NICHOLAS ROOSEN

PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR
AARON DEXTER

GENERAL MANAGER TINDALE ROAD FILMS
SOPHIE MCGILL

SOUND RECORDISTS
MYLENE LUDGATE
DAVID RAE

SOUND EDITOR
MIKE JONES

SOUND MIX AND DESIGN
MICHAEL GISSING
DIGITAL CITY STUDIO

POST PRODUCTION
THE LAB SYDNEY

POST PRODUCER
STEWART DEAN

COLORIST
ANNALIE CHAPPLE

ONLINE EDITOR
JO SPILLANE

FOOTAGE RESEARCH
SAM BRIGHT

STOCK FOOTAGE
VIRGINIA MELROSE
ABSOLUTELY WILD VISUALS

PROJECT CONSULTANT
DR. GREG JOHNSTON

SPECIAL THANKS:
GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

HELIVISTA
SHANE PARRY AND ASHLEY DICKSON

UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY (UTS)
DR. URSULA MUNRO
DOUGLAS BRAATHEN, JESSIE O’BRIEN, JASON SNAPE, ANDREW SMITH

RICHARD KINGSFORD, PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

VANESSA WHITLEY AND CATHY COOKE
THE ENTRANCE TOWN MANAGEMENT

JENNIFER HAYES, KATHRYN CONLIN, AND VICKY SANDERSON
ADELAIDE ZOO

EMMA JEPSON
GOSFORD CITY COUNCIL

GREG AND TONI SHERWIN
KILCOWERA STATION

EDWINA THRING
NGTI

DISTRIBUTED BY
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION INTERNATIONAL

FOOTAGE SUPPLIED BY
ABSOLUTELY WILD VISUALS

 2010 TINDALE RD FILMS PARTNERSHIP – PELICANS

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER

PRODUCTION MANAGER
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
JAYNE JUN

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

HD ONLINE EDITOR
PATRICK KRASS

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE
WILLIAM GRANT

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A Production of Tindale Road Films and Wild Fury

This program was produced by Tindale Road Films and Wild Fury which are solely responsible for its content.

© 2011 WNET.ORG Properties LLC
All rights reserved

WEB CREDITS

PRODUCER
KATE FULTON

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
CHIE WITT

PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE
SAM CHUNG

DESIGNER
JOY WEEENG

PAGEBUILDING
BRIAN SANTALONE

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
BRIAN LEE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NICK MILLER

DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY
DAVID HIRMES

SENIOR DIRECTOR
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

WRITERS
Sam Chung
Kate Fulton