Fraser River hosts rare white pelicans fishing
June 24, 2008
To the Editor:
On an early morning (Father’s Day) hike along the Fraser River through an abandoned cow pasture about a mile north of the town of Fraser, a flock of five rare white pelicans were observed fishing on a bend of the river. The spotters were Fraser and Boulder residents, Hannah Kelley (10), her mother Jane Barger, and her grandfather Bart Woloson (Lake Forest, Ill.)
White pelicans, which are rare compared with their brown cousins, live in Caribbean waters but breed in a few spots in the Rockies and Manitoba ” Yellowstone National Park in particular. They are seldom sighted in Colorado on their migration to breeding grounds.
Pelicans are voracious consumers of live fish. Brown pelicans dive for fish but white pelicans work in teams, surrounding a school of fish and then dipping their bills simultaneously to scoop up the fish. That was the activity seen on the Fraser. Anglers take note; fish must be plentiful along this stretch of the Fraser River.
The white pelican is probably the largest bird ever seen in these parts with a wing span of up to 114 inches (9.5 feet). They appear to be all white when at rest but display black wing tips in flight.
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Lake Forest, Ill.