A flock of about 40 American White Pelicans took a late-August vacation in Salmon Arm Bay. (Ron Banville/Facebook)

Pelicans pay rare visit to Shuswap Lake

American White Pelicans nest on only one lake in B.C. but fly far for food.

Shuswap Lake has been receiving some rare and threatened visitors this summer.

Posts on social media show American White Pelicans, an at-risk species, floating in the waters of Shuswap Lake. The visit from the birds is a rarity because they have only a single small nesting colony in B.C. According to a document put together by the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Stum Lake northwest of the city of Williams Lake, is the only place in the province where the birds nest.

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Although the birds are protected at their nesting grounds with a closure of the Stum Lake area to people in the spring and summer months, they are still threatened by fluctuating water levels which can give predators access to the islands they nest on as well as a host of other natural and human-caused factors.

The document also notes that the birds sometime travel hundreds of kilometres in search of food, which is probably what brought a sizable flock of them to the Salmon Arm area in late August.

It is easy to see how the birds, which are distinguished by their snowy white plumage and vibrant orange bills, drew eyes and the lenses of cameras during a few summertime visits to Shuswap Lake.

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Ron Banville photographed the flock of Pelicans assembled near near one end of Christmas Island off Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail. After taking pictures of the birds as they fished and fed at the Island for at least two, days Banville shared the images on social media. He said a flock of about 40 pelicans that were in the Salmon Arm Bay do not like people but are amazing to watch from a distance.

Other posts on social media showed a flock of pelicans had made an earlier foray to Shuswap Lake in May. The birds have been seen at a few location on Okanagan Lake as well in recent years.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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A flock of about 40 American White Pelicans took a late-August vacation in Salmon Arm Bay. (Ron Banville/Facebook)

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