American White Pelican

By: Anna Aráoz

While there is hardly anything mysterious about pelicans, they are probably some of the most beautiful birds you can observe in Manitoba. They are the largest ones, too – with the second-longest wingspan in North America. Manitoba happens to be home to a third of the global breeding population of American White Pelican, with nesting colonies concentrated around Lakes Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Winnipegosis.

The great birds adorn our neighbourhood every summer, gliding elegantly across a pond and looking especially spectacular during the golden hour. But they don’t just swim pointlessly from shore to shore: pelicans work in coordinated groups to corral fish to shallower waters, where they can easily scoop it. This is an important task since adult birds need to provide about 68 kg of food to each newly hatched chick before it can forage on its own.

Pelicans are fantastic flyers despite their size, and we can often see them soar high in the sky, providing a perfect contrast to the blue backdrop with their bright white plumage.