Tuesday, June 5, 2012
A White Pelican's Journey
First reported on May 21 to the media by a citizen from Roddicton, NL, this bird has made quite a splash. Pictures verify that the NL pelican is a breeding male, so determined by the plate on its bill. This bird pictured here is a female - no plate.
Given the information about the sightings, including the dates and locations, is it possible to predict where it might go next?
I have put together a map of the known landings and dates in an effort to predict its movements. It is quite likely he has already left the Avalon on its way back where it belongs.
At any rate, it took 8 days for the pelican to travel the route and be spotted in the pond opposite Biscay Bay. This bird is known to prefer shallow bodies of water and coast lines so this was a logical place for it to overnight. It was in Biscay Bay where it was spotted one evening (May 30) and departed early the next morning (May 31). Unfortunately, it had moved on by the time we reached the area.
It was on June 1st that it was spotted in Come By Chance, 231 land km. away. Once again the bird probably flew along the coastline but the distance will be somewhat the same amounting to a travel time of about three to four hours a day. (Some reports have it that a White Pelican can fly up to 55 mph.)
From June 2 -4, the pelican was reported to be in the coastal waters off Lamaline. Once again this distance was about 235 km. There definitely seems to be a pattern here. If the pattern holds, its next stop would be near Rencontre West or Burgeo. This area is less populated than some, and it would be easy for the bird to pass through theses areas without being seen.
At the current tracked rate of movement, this White Pelican only needs two to three more hops and it will find itself within a day's travel of Nova Scotia. Unless, it decides to back track, stop off for a visit in St. Pierre and return to us, we may not get an opportunity to actually see this rare and exotic visitor. Nevertheless, it has been exciting to watch its movement and sightings across the island.