Pelicans begin yearly migration north towards Minnesota

(Mankato, MN) – The American white pelican is beginning its yearly migration north towards Minnesota.

The pelican is making a comeback in Minnesota after they all but disappeared from the state for seven decades due to human activity.  More than 20 percent of the continent’s white pelican population now take up summer residence in Minnesota.  Marsh Lake, which stretches across Big Stone, Lac qui Parle, and Swift counties hosts the largest portion of the population.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the pelicans migrate in early spring north to their summer homes.  Many are passing through, or they could be nonbreeders that are feeding or loafing.

By April or May, some will settle in large dense groups.  Pelicans nest on the ground, mainly on isolated islands.  Minnesota is home to 15 known nesting colonies.  The public is asked to report any new nesting colonies to the regional nongame specialist.

The Minnesota DNR credits conservation efforts, federal regulations, and the DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program with the pelican comeback.

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