Pelican picnic on the Pike River

American white pelicans gather on a rock in the Pike River, a tributary of Lake Vermilion near Tower. (Sam Cook photo)

Last week, when I visited the Pike River Fish Hatchery operated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on the Pike River near Tower, I saw lots of American white pelicans. DNR officials told me the pelicans spend time on the river this time of year feeding on fish, including walleyes that enter the river from Lake Vermilion to spawn.

I must have seen 20 or more of the big birds. Some rested on rocks. Others cruised the current in the river occasionally dipping their large beaks into the river to snatch a fish.

They’re beautiful birds, graceful in flight. When one comes in to land on the river, it holds its big webbed feet out in front like saucer-shaped water skis and glides across the surface until finally plopping its big white body down.

Here’s one more photo from that morning:

Three American white pelicans watch another one swim by the rock they’re resting on at the Pike River, a tributary of Lake Vermilion. (Sam Cook photo)

 

 

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