MALIBU, Calif. — A screaming crowd. People ducking and covering. A violent creature swooping in for the attack.
No, I'm not setting the scene of a sci-fi action flick. I'm just describing Pepperdine University's graduation ceremony.
Friday morning, families and friends gathered on a hillside in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Though they were expecting a relaxing day celebrating the accomplishments of those who were graduating, what they got was much more dramatic. This video, posted to YouTube after the event, shows what happened when partway through the graduation two very large pelicans decided to crash the party.
As the video starts, the crowd screams, and plenty of people laugh and pull out their phones, as two very large pelicans fly overhead, apparently trying to circle their prey. One of the pelicans even seems to attack several of the audience members before they can fight him back. The whole scene is just absolute chaos, but because it's a college graduation, a woman is still trying to get the graduates to stay in line and move forward when their names are called.
If you're wondering why the pelicans showed up to this event, no, it's not because they put in their time studying and wanted their diplomas. As the video description says, "When your university is located next to the Pacific Ocean, at some point, pelicans are bound to crash your graduation."
Unfortunately, the full reason these pelicans showed up is a bit more complicated — and sad — than that. According to an expert who explained it to NBC Los Angeles, these pelicans are likely from the Channel Islands and their behavior at this graduation is not a good sign.
"To me, they look emaciated," said Anna Weinstein, marine program director for Audubon California. "When you see these kinds of erratic behaviors, especially with young birds, it almost always means they're starving."
Despite this sad reason, the video is way more intense than any graduation I've ever attended. As you'll see when you watch, security is eventually able to get the pelicans under control and, I assume, the rest of the graduation ran smoothly. But I'm sure this year's Pepperdine graduates will never forget this very memorable day.