Imagine walking along the lakeshore somewhere in the Toronto area and seeing a flock of pelicans flying overhead. That is extremely unlikely, yet, in Florida and the Caribbean it is an very common sight.
During a recent trip to these areas, I was able to take these photographs:
There are a few records for Brown Pelicans in Ontario. In 1937, two were seen catching fish at the Bustard Islands In Georgian Bay. In 1971, one was photographed just west of Fort Erie on Lake Erie.
White Pelicans, on the other hand, have long nested near Lake of the the Woods and now has established a nest-hold in western Lake Erie for the first time, with prospects of future territorial expansion into lakes Huron and Ontario.
The species “is undergoing a dramatic expansion of its breeding range in North America,” the study published in the journal Ontario Birds said. “The nesting on Lake Erie, so far from the colony sites in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, seems unusual. Why such a large dispersal from the nearest breeding colony 550 km (340 miles) away?”
Historically, the birds breed in the Prairie provinces, western Minnesota, extreme northwestern Ontario, North Dakota and South Dakota. Elsewhere in the Great Lakes region, the birds also nest at Lake of the Woods on the Ontario-Minnesota border and at Ontario’s Lake Nipigon and Lac Seul. (greatlakesecho.org)
A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week.
But I’m damned if I see how the helican. – Dixon Merritt