My husband, Nelson, and I love the variety of wildlife that we see here in Woodside. We live on Spaulding Lake and very often see Canada Geese, cormorants, and various duck species. Frequent visitors also include herons and egrets. On occasion, we’ve seen Wood Storks and even Bald Eagles. I was quite surprised, however, to look out yesterday evening and see three large white birds on our lake that I had not seen before. At first, I thought they were swans, but after a look through the binoculars that we keep handy, I knew that was not the case. I thought they looked like White Pelicans, and I had never seen one of those anywhere before. Nelson and I walked down the lake for a better view and a few photos, and the check of a reference book confirmed that I was correct.
The American White Pelican is one of two species of pelicans in North America, and is one of the world’s largest birds. They can weigh as much as 30 pounds and have wingspans that can reach 9 feet, the second largest average wingspan of any North American bird, after the California Condor. It breeds in inland shallow freshwater lakes, wet prairies, and marshes during the summer from southern Canada and Minnesota west to northern California. They migrate to their breeding grounds from the Gulf coast, the southern Pacific Coast, Mexico and Central America.
I’m not sure where they were coming from or where they were going to, but they were way off course. Jim Burke commented, “No doubt it is a male driving, and he refuses to stop and ask for directions.” I’m just glad that they stopped by for a visit here in Woodside.
Submitted by Lynn Wheat, Woodside Resident
March 4, 2015