Thursday morning coffee at 7am came to a halt as I grabbed for my camera. I was staring out the window and could not believe my eyes- Pelicans-on Forest Lake?!!
I personally had never seen a pelican on Forest Lake…. I was sooooo excited!
My son found a link for the American White Pelican Migration.
It was absolutely amazing to see just how far they have traveled!
Here are a few pictures I took-
Saturday’s picture was just too cool- my loon and a pelican hanging out together-
White pelicans rebound, call Minnesota lakes and rivers home
Posted on May 8, 2012
By Rob Drieslein
There were no reports of nesting pelicans in Minnesota for 90 years, from 1878 until 1968. That was the year a nest was discovered at Marsh Lake, a reservoir of the Minnesota River at the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area. From that one nest 44 years ago, the colony has grown to become the largest in the world, according to Carrol Henderson, DNR nongame program leader.
Pelicans will pioneer an area for years, even decades before nesting, but once one nest takes, the number expands almost exponentially. No known colonies exist on the Mississippi River yet.
Minnesota now has 22,506 pelican nests in 16 locations with 74 percent of them at Marsh Lake. There are also 1,300 pairs in the Lake of the Woods area and 1,200 pairs at Lake Johanna, plus smaller colonies scattered around the southern and western portion of the state.
“The Prairie Pothole Region of western Minnesota hosts 22 percent of the global population of this species, making it a stewardship species,” said Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer, DNR nongame wildlife specialist.
“Being a Species in Greatest Conservation Need in Minnesota helps to ensure the conservation and protection of these birds locally and also contributes significantly to their global conservation.”
Bigger than a bald eagle, pelicans can weigh 16 pounds and have a 9-foot wingspan. Henderson and others maintain that the large fish-eating birds mostly eat smaller fish and roughfish in shallow water. Unlike cormorants, which dive to catch their fish, pelicans aren’t targeting the deeper, fast-swimming.
From the recent DNR release on pelicans:
Pelicans winter along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Mexico and typically return to Minnesota in early spring. They leave each fall as lakes and rivers freeze. They are among the world’s largest birds and are easily recognized in flight. Wingspans up to nine feet, bright white plumage with black-edged wings and large, orange bills distinguish them from any other species.
“Pelicans often fly in evenly spaced lines or V formations,” Gelvin-Innvaer said. “Unlike swans or geese which fly with necks outstretched, pelicans fly with their necks doubled back against their shoulders. They often set up a rhythmic pattern of wing beats that ripple from the lead bird back to the end.”
The pelicans are highly social and live in large, dense colonies. They feed exclusively on small fish and crustaceans and will work together for a meal.
After yet another week of snow storms (yes, in May…) FINALLY we have ice out – Here are a few more pic’s from the week…..