According to legend, the pelican, which has the greatest love of all creatures for its’ offspring, pierces it’s breast to feed them with it’s own blood. It is on the basis of this legend that the pelican came to symbolize Christ’s love for all mankind. In this sense, it is also symbolizes the Holy Eucharist.
“There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14