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A welcome party was held on June 15th, 2012 for our 2 new African Great White Pelicans

Ricky and Lucy are both African Great White Pelicans who collectively played the part of "Rufus" in the movie Dolphin Tale. These birds were in training for 6 weeks in California with their trainers before they came to Clearwater, Florida to shoot for the blockbuster hit Dolphin Tale. This was not their first experience working in front of a camera as they were also used for the movie "Zohan" starring Adam Sandler.

Ricky and Lucy are a sexed pair both specializing in different behaviors specifically required for the movie, although both birds were trained for all behaviors necessary for the filming process. Generally, while filming the specific scenes, each bird was required to participate in sessions that would happen all throughout the day as the filming process required each take to be filmed multiple times. In this case, the birds would share behaviors required to fulfill the needs of the scene throughout the filming process.

Lucy is the more social of the two birds and was used for all scenes requiring flight and retrieval. Lucy was the first of these 2 birds to step on scene for filming. She makes her on-film appearance as the pelican perched on top of the rain gutter when Sawyer walks into the Clearwater Marine Hospital (see photo). Her most noted scene in the movie was when she was chasing Ashley Judd through the Clearwater Marine Hospital parking lot!

Ricky is not as social as Lucy; however, he is still very reliable once he is trained to learn a new behavior. He is the bird that is used during the scenes that required movement or "walking" from one point to the next. You might remember him on the docks following both "Hazel" and "Sawyer" as they walked and talked. As he progressed through his training, Ricky became just as reliable as a dog would be when asked to sit.

Both Ricky and Lucy now call the Clearwater Marine Aquarium home. These birds will help us bring awareness to other wildlife along our coastal waters as they interact interact with their trainers at both the Aquarium and Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure.

Adopt Ricky and Lucy

Stay tuned for more photos and updates!

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