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I have been fascinated by pelicans for as long as I can remember. These days it's out of deep appreciation for their majestic beauty, but the reason I was first intrigued by them was much, much sillier. 

I was probably in kindergarten the first time I saw a pelican. We were at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco to gawk at all of the sea lions who had taken over a major portion of the pier. For a couple months a year hundreds of sea lions flocked to the docks to snooze, bark and (through no fault of their own) stink up the joint. A lot of people were pretty annoyed by their presence, most notably all of the rich folks who docked their boats there, but my family was delighted by them. It was like going on a free trip to the zoo and/or aquarium. 

So it was while we were looking at the sea lions that this enormous bird landed on a post way closer to me than I would have liked. I couldn't help but be scared at first, it was almost half my size and standing at eye level just a few feet away. And without knowing better I thought there was a pretty good chance its beak was more than capable of poking my young eyes out before carrying me away in that massive pouch. 

Of course, there's no way that would happen. For starters, pelicans tend not to eat anything other than fish. But most importantly, I was a hefty youngster who would fall right through even the toughest pelican's throat pouch. 

I know this is all a digression and you came here for the pelican tattoos, but before you look through the gallery let me hit you with some pretty remarkable pelican facts. 

1. They don't store food in that pouch. I always thought they carried a couple of fish in there so they always had a snack ready to go. It turns out that the pouch is used not for storage but in capturing their prey. They're able to take up a bunch of water along with the fish, then the water drains out leaving their lunch behind. 

2. Adult pelicans are silent. While younger pelicans can make calls, they lose the ability as they get older. The only sound adult pelicans make is produced by flapping their wings hard and forcing air out of their lungs.

3. Pelicans have been around for at least 30 million years. You know how every once in a while we refer to animals as "living fossils," often while talking about crocodiles or alligators? Well, we should also be saying the same thing about pelicans. If you squint hard enough, they do kind of look like pterodactyls, don't they? 

If I haven't convinced you that pelicans are wonderful creatures by this point, maybe these tattoos will finish the job. Enjoy!