National Aviary Announces Name of New Female Pelican


National Aviary Announces Name of New Female Pelican

Following public vote, the name was revealed during special event at National Aviary


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March 14, 2019 (Pittsburgh, PA) – The National Aviary today announced the name of a new female Brown Pelican during a special event for Aviary guests. The public voted on three names via an online poll hosted by TribLIVE. Options included:

1.      Eloise, or “Elli the Peli” for short, is inspired by the elegant yet awkward nature of pelicans.

2.      Dee Dee, named after Dexter’s sister in the children’s cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory, is a tribute to one of the National Aviary’s former pelicans named Dexter.

3.      Morada references that this pelican was found in the town of Islamorada, Florida.

People across the nation casted their votes, and the winner is Eloise!


The winning name was written on a paper fish held by a pelican sculpture. Curator of Animal Wellness Jessica McAtee, unfolded the paper fish to reveal the name “Eloise” and announced the new name in front of National Aviary visitors and friends.


“Eloise is so fitting for this beautiful bird,” said Jessica McAtee, Curator of Animal Wellness. “She may seem a bit awkward when she waddles about on land, but she’s so elegant when she is swimming through the Wetlands pond, or perched in her favorite tree. The name is even more special because it was chosen by the community.”


Following the announcement, guests to the National Aviary enjoyed a special pelican talk in the Wetlands habitat, where they had the opportunity to see Eloise the pelican, swimming and interacting with her friend Ralph, another rehabilitated Brown Pelican at the National Aviary. Guests enjoyed candy fish, coloring, and a guess the number of candy fish contest. Visitors were also encouraged to pledge to make a small change to help save birds and protect their habitats by writing an “I can” statement on a large “pel-I-CAN” sign. Pledges included eco-friendly ideas like recycling, buying sustainable seafood, and conserving water.


The pelican arrived to the National Aviary in November 2018 from a bird rescue center in Florida. She was rescued as a juvenile with a wing injury that had not properly healed. The cause of the injury is unknown, but as a result, she is unable to fly and would not be able to survive in the wild. Because her injuries prevented her from being re-released following rehabilitation, she has found a long term residence at the National Aviary, and she’s thriving in her new home.

Guests can visit Eloise daily in the Wetlands habitat. Wetlands feedings are held twice daily and are a great chance to see the birds up close. For an even closer encounter, visitors can purchase three fish for $1 or a cup of fish for $5 to feed to the pelicans.


About the National Aviary:

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world. For more information, visit

The National Aviary inspires respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.