Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

May 1991


Published in NEBRASKAland 69:4 (May 1991), pp. 50-51. Copyright 1991 Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.


Few birds are more familiar to the average person than are white pelicans, but few Nebraskans also realize that thousands of these birds migrate through the state every year, and hundreds stop over to spend the summer on some of our larger lakes and reservoirs. No pelicans breed in Nebraska, but the nearest breeding area is only a short distance north of us, at LaCreek National Wildlife Refuge, near Martell, South Dakota. Since it requires three--or more probably four--years for white pelicans to become sexually mature, many of the immature birds simply stop off in Nebraska rather than completing their migrations to the Dakotas or the prairie provinces of central Canada, and spend a leisurely summer fishing in such reservoirs as Lake McConaughy or the deeper Sandhills lakes that support good populations of fish.

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