The brown pelicans of South Padre Island have a bunch of cold-weather friends at ResacaElementary School in Brownsville.
One year ago, the students, then fourth-graders, and their teacher wrote a song about the problems the pelicans experience every time a stiff-enough cold front blows in from the north. Due to structural features of Highway 48 between the Bahia Grande and the Brownsville Ship Channel, when the wind is just right out of the north or northwest it creates conditions that push flying pelicans down to the roadway.
Music teacher Renee Lockett brought the situation to the students’ attention after hundreds of the birds died in December 2016.
“As educators we want our kids to be problem-solvers,” Lockett said. “So we looked at the issue, and the kids were heartbroken. They all wanted to know what they could do.”
They decided to write letters to Gov. Gregg Abbott and to write a song about the pelicans’ plight. The song is posted to YouTube accompanying a video gallery of the letters. The song is sung to the melody of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Here’s how the first verse goes:
“Pelican, Pelican, fly this way,’
Because we kids have something to say
We heard that cars are hitting you.
We want to help, so we’ll sing for you.
Pelican, Pelican, cars speed by
Not giving you a chance to fly.”
Lockett said everyone in the class contributed ideas “and we just sort of molded them into a song.”