Just a quick picture-post of the American White Pelicans at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, located at the confluence of the Spoon and Illinois rivers, a featured site of the Illinois Audubon Society’s Spring Gathering based in Canton, Illinois, this weekend.
I’ll have more photos later in the week. It was a long, frustrating weekend, with the weather on the chilly, wet side: a lot of the planned birding activities were canceled because they were inconceivable with the flood conditions resulting from last week’s rain.
But the pelicans were undeterred. Indeed they seemed to be enjoying the extra habitat. I have never seen so many so close and in breeding plumage. And I found them surprisingly fascinating to watch: their movements are in sync, and beautifully choreographed. Dancing to a tune only pelicans can hear.
Wow, I had no idea there were pelicans in Illinois.
I know, I didn’t either until a few years ago. We get them in Cook County. I have seen them at McGinnis Slough, but they are always far away. The first time I saw them they were flying overhead near Horicon NWR in Wisconsin: they are magnificent in flight, big white birds with black on the wings.
Thanks. I agree, I had no idea what they look like in breeding plumage; I’ve seen them close-up at the zoo, for instance, but this time they looked all dressed up for a party.
Beautiful photos of the American Pelicans, Lisa. I too, love the way they look when in flight. When the arrive here in large flights, they are like a giant eddy, circling slowly as one, in that spiral pattern before gently settling on the water. A magnificent sight.
Thanks so much for your insightful comment, Bob. Someone told us that up until a few years ago Pelicans were never seen at this location but they got blown away one year by a strong front and apparently have decided it’s a good stopover point on their way to their breeding grounds.