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Pelicans an unusual sight

May 30. 15

By Jennifer Zielinski, Kelowna News

If you caught a brief glimpse of a pelican pod this week, your eyes weren’t deceiving you.

Both Castanet and the conservation service had several calls regarding pelicans on Okanagan Lake. As it turns out the American White Pelican breeds from Mackenzie, B.C. down to northern California.

Josh Lockwood, with the conservation office says there is a provincial park, located north-west of Williams Lake, designated to protect the white pelican nesting colony. Located within Stum Lake, the park is closed every year from March 1 to August 31 due to the American White Pelicans nesting there. They are very sensitive to disturbances which can result in the loss of their young.

Lockwood says the birds, spotted on Okanagan Lake this week, were most likely returning from a winter down south and had a stop over in Kelowna.

The American White Pelican has been legally designated as an Endangered Species in B.C.   Disturbances at nesting colonies caused by boats, low flying aircraft or people walking through the colonies have resulted in serious losses, even complete abandonment of the nests.

White pelicans usually travel in flocks and nesting colonies and can reach heights of 55 to 70 inches.

Lockwood also says several calls were made to conservation regarding vultures in the area, which breed in southern B.C. and east of Saskatchewan.


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Photo: American White Pelican (Howard Ignatius via flickr)

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