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American white pelicans hang around the Okanagan-Shuswap over the summer

Pelicans pay a visit

You might be most familiar with pelicans from winter vacations to Mexico, but the big birds hang around B.C., too.

The distinctive, big-billed birds have been spotted around the North Okanagan and Shuswap over the summer.

But, that's not unusual.

The region is on the annual migratory path of American white pelicans, from southwest California and the Pacific coast of Mexico, on their way to their single nesting site in British Columbia.

It's located at Stum Lake in White Pelican Provincial Park, west of Williams Lake.

Several hundred mating pairs may nest there each summer.

Sylvia Voets recently caught images of a group of a few dozen birds on Shuswap Lake in Salmon Arm and shared them via the Hell Yeah Vernon! Facebook group.

The pelicans prefer shallow lakes and lagoons to forage for fish and will typically nest on an island in that body of water.

It's believed those that stayed around the Okanagan and Shuswap this summer were juveniles not yet of breeding age.

They were also spotted at Otter Lake in Spallumcheen this spring.

The pelicans' range extends from Northern Alberta to Central America and South America.

Pelicans' beaks can be up to 15 inches in length, perfect for scooping up fish.

One of the largest birds in North America, their wingspan can reach up to 120 inches, second only to the California condor.

They can weigh up to 30 pounds.



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