Pelicans are coming back to Minnesota already – but don't get too close

Pelicans are bringing their giant beaks and 9-foot wingspans back to Minnesota.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Don't get too close to big white pelicans.

Beyond concerns for any small pets you might have that the pelicans decide might be lunch, you could actually scare the birds so much they abandon their eggs and nest.

American white pelicans are currently migrating back up to Minnesota after spending winter along the Gulf Coast, the DNR says. They're about two weeks earlier than usual, with lakes and rivers already starting to thaw.

The Audobon Society says white pelicans are common in the western half of Minnesota during migration, but rarer in the eastern regions of the state.

You'll see their 9-foot wingspans around waters, particularly shallow lakes with islands, the DNR says, or one of prairie pothole lakes. That's because there's usually plenty of food (rough fish and crustaceans) in those waters. If you find some hungry pelicans, you'll notice they hunt as a team, circling the water to herd fish into a shallow area, then dipping their big Pelicans are coming back to Minnesota already – but don't get too closePelicans are coming back to Minnesota already – but don't get too close' beak pouches in and scooping them up.

Like this:

But stay far back, the DNR warns.

They're very sensitive to humans, and easily get scared off their nests – which could lead to a pelican just abandoning the nest and eggs altogether.

"A good rule of thumb is if the pelicans are reacting to your presence, you’re too close," DNR nongame wildlife specialist Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer said in a news release.

Pelicans are doing way better

Pelican numbers suffered significantly because of human disturbance and habitat loss through much of the 20th century, the Audobon Society explains.

And in fact they used to be rare in Minnesota, according to the DNR, and there were no reports of nesting pairs in the state from 1878 to 1968.

But their numbers have strengthened in the decades since. There are now an estimated 22,000 nesting pairs that stop at seven lakes across Minnesota, the DNR says.

The Audobon Society says numbers since 1970 have grown substantially – but there's concern over how climate change could affect the bird's range.

Next Up

127266986_2766399800267634_3587849554502438415_n

West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.

EDL1LeKXsAEeH32

How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.

En-KfRaXEAEbuE7

St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Related

Pelicans are coming back to Minnesota already – but don't get too close

Pelicans are bringing their giant beaks and 9-foot wingspans back to Minnesota.

Bald eagles are flying back up to Minnesota – earlier than normal

Bald eagles that left for the winter are on their way back.

Bald eagles are flying back up to Minnesota – earlier than normal

Bald eagles that left for the winter are on their way back.

The live EagleCam is back online

Check out this 24/7 EagleCam.

The Eagle Cam couple might be getting ready for some baby eaglets

Will these lovebirds lay their eggs early again? Or wait until a more typical time period?

The Eagle Cam couple might be getting ready for some baby eaglets

Will these lovebirds lay their eggs early again? Or wait until a more typical time period?