Widely regarded as the official mascot of the island of Mykonos, Petros the Pelican can be seen wandering around the port, on the beach and along the narrow streets of the town, posing for visitor’s holiday snaps, apparently quite comfortable with his celebrity status.
Legend has it that the original Petros was found by a fisherman off the coast of Mykonos in 1954 during a violent storm. It is thought that the pelican had flown from the mainland of Greece, some 180 kilometers, but had been caught up in the storm and badly injured. The bird’s rescuer nursed him back to health and locals named him Petros.
Petros soon became a popular attraction on the island, loved by locals and visitors alike. Sadly, the pelican was hit by a car in 1986 and died.
Having been a regular visitor to Mykonos since 1961 (and well acquainted with Petros as can be seen in historic press photographs taken by Life magazine) Jackie Kennedy-Onassis reportedly donated a pelican named Irini to the island. Shortly thereafter, Hamburg Zoo donated a second pelican, which was promptly named Petros, and years later an injured pelican was found offshore and nursed back to health.
So, there are, in fact, three pelicans on the island – Petros, Irini and Nikolas. But all are known simply as Petros – the iconic mascot of Mykonos.