My learned friend Mike ‘Good at French’ Taylor comments that the Spanish word for Pelican is Alcatraz and that the Arabic word for bucket is also Alcatraz.
This leads me to suppose that the Spaniards used the the Arabic word when naming the bird, Spain having been an essentially Arab country for centuries, in reference to the bucket like bill of the Pelican. The infamous island in the Bay thus may have got its name because Pelicans roosted there. I think ‘The Bucket’ would have made an excellent name for the jail. What fun.
Anyway, here’s Lear
A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the helican!
The learned Bob Logan has corrected my attribution of the above to Lear. Check it out: