Pelicans Summer Near Lake Andes, South Dakota
This past weekend, my wife and I had friends illustrate some of the bi-products of recent flooding in South Central South Dakota. Part of that trip was highlighted by some large, interesting looking birds, Pelicans. It turns out that Pelicans are just like any other animal on earth. Give them 'easy opportunity,' and they'll line up for the free or easier meal.
Pelicans may not be the most beautiful bird on the planet, but not the ugliest either. According to Wikipedia.com;
Fossil evidence of pelicans dates back at least 30 million years to the remains of a beak very similar to that of modern species recovered from Oligocene strata in France.
Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters, where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. They are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively, and breeding colonially.
Earlier in the day, while riding around the flooded 'Lake Andes' we stopped and chatted with Federal Wildlife Officer Tyler Barriere. Barriere pulled up in a john-boat hauling supplies to get across a flooded road. He said we usually have quite a few Pelicans in the area but there seems to be more this year.
We asked if the Pelicans were hanging out in 'easier eating areas' for a quick meal on carp. Barrier said, maybe, but they typically dine on minnows and other easier to eat meals.
Barrier did mention, if you see a dead one floating in the water, it was most likely due to choking on too big of a meal. He did mention he thought a few had succumbed due to running into power lines, that are common in the area as well.
If you get a chance for a day trip, it's really quite a sight. Many folks were stopping and taking pictures. A squadron of Pelicans can be seen just south of Lake Andes on Highway 18 and also close to the Lake Andes lagoon.
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