Photo and story by Vic Prislipsky
American White Pelicans (AWP) are listed in our Village birding checklist as frequent during the spring and fall migrations. Although frequent may be a bit optimistic there have been more reports than usual of Pelicans on Lake Balboa this past year. Oddly, our other lakes have few to
no Pelican sightings. Recently 51 were reported at Balboa which is very unusual this late in the migratory season.
The striking fact about adult AWP is that their nearly 10 feet wingspan makes them by far the largest bird you will ever see in the Village. The AWP family includes a close relative, the Brown Pelican and the much different looking Cormorants. Brown Pelicans have not been seen
in the Village and are rare away from coastal areas. Cormorants are plentiful in many places but uncommon in the Village.
The AWP is found throughout most of the US west of the Mississippi River. Being fish eaters they congregate in groups near the larger rivers and big bodies of water. They are very common along the Arkansas river in the winter. AWPs are exceptionally graceful fliers and are often seen soaring in V-formations. Their primary nesting territory is isolated islands in the northern plains states and Canada. Two eggs are laid but chick competition normally means that only one survives.
As always HSVBIRDS.ORG has a lot of information about our organization plus everything you’d like to know about birds and some of Nature’s other wonders. It’s also a great place to shop for bird seed, feeders or our nationally know Bluebird houses. HSV Audubon meets the 2nd Thursday of each month, except July and August, at 10:00 at the Coronado Center. Guests are always welcome.