I had a great interest in pelicans when I was little because I found them fascinating. Then we starting singing a hymn in our choir called "Pie Pellicane" and found the meaning most beautiful. It is as follows:
The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood, to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive
them from death, but in turn lost her own life. The early Christians adapted this tradition to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus our Redeemer, who gave His life for our redemption, and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us on our pilgrim way, with His body and blood in the Holy Eucharist. The pelican became part of our liturgical tradition. The image of the pelican feeding its baby pelicans was a popular artwork on altar frontals. In early times, when tabernacles were sometimes suspended over the altar, they were shaped like pelicans.
"The Symbolism of the Pelican" by Fr. William Saunders
(picture from one of our local chambers of commerce)
I was in town the other day when I saw (this very sight) of a flock of pelicans. They are huge! Apparently they are about 5 feet tall and have a 9 foot wingspan! That is amazing. I'm hoping they will still be there tomorrow when I go into town again.