How The Heck Did They Get Here?

I haven’t been over to see them (yet?).  But the birding world is agog over a very rare sighting on Chautauqua Lake:  White Pelicans!

Check out this range map from Cornell:

white pelican range map

Notice the total lack of color in New York State.  Notice the distance from the colored areas to New York State…  They simply shouldn’t be here.  But they are.

Here is a photo from Jim Berry (President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute) to prove it:

White Pelican by Jim Berry

And now that I’m a birder, I get excited by things like this.  Tee Hee…


7 thoughts on “How The Heck Did They Get Here?

  1. One of the many joys of birding is seeing the unexpected. While in flight, birds may get lost,get blown off course, or just get caught up in the westerly breezes — as this errant pelican may have been. The fact that this bird has strayed from the west certainly makes for exciting birding . What gets more exciting is when birds wander in from Asia or Europe.

  2. Jennifer, as an old birding friend of mine used to say, “birds have wings, and sometimes they use them.” That was how he explained birds showing up where they “shouldn’t” be.

    Carolyn H.

  3. Jennifer-

    I remember sitting in a conference room in Lacrosse Wisconsin with a bunch of nature types from the Natureserve network across the Midwest, when somebody noticed a flock of white pelicans flying high directly over the Mississippi River, they are amazing birds. I didn’t realize they made it that far north, but as your map shows, they really are a western mountains/plains/and gulf coast species. I’ve seen them in all three places, but definitely not in Ohio. Hope you get out to see them in NY. By the way, that Southern Tier Brewery looks like they make very good brews, at least they are very highly rated at Beer Advocate, my go to site when it comes to knowing if a beer is any good or not.


  4. Truly amazing. That’s WAY out of its territory. We know what you mean — the more you become familiar with animals and birds and nature, the more exciting it becomes to see something ‘out of the ordinary’ like this. It’s not really the same situation, (and Carolyn Hoffman’s observation wouldn’t really apply here), but we once came across an emu that had gotten loose from a farm. It was pretty amazing to be driving in Wisconsin, look out in a field, and see this giant bird running through the grass. Totally unexpected =)

  5. A grand old bird is the pelican
    Whose bill holds more than his belly can
    He can hold in his beak
    enough food for a week
    And I’m damned if I know how the Hell he can!

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