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The beach area in Mykonos is normally very busy early in the morning with lines of locals waiting to buy some of the fresh fish that has just been caught by the town’s many small fishing vessels that dock here.
But in addition to the carts full of fresh fish at this impromptu fish market (marked as #208 of our Discovery Walk in Mykonos) you may also be lucky enough to see a pelican named Petros and a couple of his feathered friends that have become the celebrated mascots of Mykonos.
The story of Petros the Pelican began in 1954 when a local fisherman stumbled upon a wounded pelican that he named Petros. The fisherman was so moved by the pelican’s discomfort that he decided to take the bird home and care for him.
Surprisingly, after Petros was nursed back to health he did not fly away but instead decided to make the town of Mykonos his permanent home. As the months went by, the cute pelican became more and more popular with all of the town’s residents.
Petros led a very charmed life on the island for more than 30 years and when the original Petros died in 1986, the entire town of Mykonos went into mourning. Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, who also loved the life and beauty of Mykonos, decided to help the town’s people by providing them with a replacement for their beloved Petros. She donated another pelican to the town, and named it Irene. Since then two other injured pelicans have been adopted by the town so now there is not one pelican but three – Irene, Nikolas and the original’s namesake, Petros.
Everyone in Mykonos seems to love the pelicans, especially the tourists and children. If the pelicans aren’t here at the fish market eagerly hoping for some handouts you may catch a glimpse of them throughout the day as they stroll leisurely around the port and through the city’s many alleyways.