Sunday, April 01, 2012

American White Pelicans

Clinton Lake Wildlife areas are a stop over for the American White Pelicans.  These are majestic birds, especially in flight.  I’ve written about them before.  This picture was taken by our neighbor Chip on March 23, 2005.


I took this picture on April 1, 2006.  The picture above & directly below were taken on the marsh.


Finally, this is a picture I took March 27, 2012, off the causeway bridge on the upper part of the lake.IMG_3501 - Copy

It appears the Pelicans are right on schedule this year.

A few facts about this deceptively beautiful bird from a National Geographic web site.  The body is 5’8” with a wing span of 8’.  The White Pelicans do not dive for food, rather feed in shallows, dipping up water and straining the out the food.  They then tip their heads back and swallow.  The picture above was taken in the upper shallows of Clinton Lake.  It appears at least one has something in its bill.

In checking the internet for information about the Pelicans, I found their migration through the middle Mississippi River Valley is an annual anticipated event along the Illinois/Mississippi River Road—the exact area we traveled through just over a week ago.  We did not see any, but they might be up tributaries rather than out on the main rivers.

They are shy birds so prefer to be left alone.  Maybe that’s why we have so many come through here.  They slip in and out with little fanfare. They will be gone soon. We feel so fortunate to be able to see them for a brief time each year.


Pablo said...

I've seen rafts of them on Truman Lake in Missouri in years past too.

Ontario Wanderer said...

Sometimes the winds will bring one to the Hamilton harbour and then we get birders from all over coming to see it in a rare place. (Birders are so strange at times.)