Pelicans taking flight from Gulf Coast to Minnesota

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Flocks of American white pelicans are heading back to Minnesota from the Gulf Coast, The Associated Press reports.

With wingspans of up to nine feet, American white pelicans are among the world's largest birds, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says. An estimated 22,000 pair of the species nest at 16 sites on seven lakes across the state.

According to the DNR, the bright white plumage with black-edged wings and large, orange bills distinguish American White Pelicans from any other species.

Minnesota is home to 22 percent of the American white pelicans' global population, the DNR says.

The National Audubon Society has a detailed history of the birds.

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