Pelicans flying over Rock County now!
In March, I documented with video that pelicans follow the Rock River north in the spring.
Although I spend a lot of time on and about the Rock, I had never seen any, but friends both north and south of Janesville sent me photographs of flocks on the river.
I was hoping to see them for myself this spring... Then it happened today (Wednesday) at Rock Baseball Field between Afton and Janesville just west the river.
At least 20 pelicans flew in almost perfect V formation over the field. Unlike similar sized canadian geese, the pelicans were silent.
I wasn't the only one who noticed. One of the parents sitting in the bleachers said, "Look at the pelicans...you know like you see in Florida."
I hope you will get to seem them, too. Please let me know if you do. Here again is my pelican video and introduction:
Email from Tom Eighmy, a new friend of mine who lives on he Rock River between Rockford and Byron:
"We saw the Pelicans ... every day for a week or so [in the past several years]. It was amazing, they would come by at about the same time every day and if you weren't watching you would miss them since they were silent (not like the geese!)"
The pelicans stop there in the spring on their northern journey. And some have been spotted flying over Janesville, too.
Thanks to Tom Eighmy's photography, you will see those Rock River pelicans in my video along with more pelicans on the river in Horicon Marsh, and Ixonia and on Beaver Dam Lake. In addition to Horicon, the pelicans have also started colonies on or near Lake Winnebago and Green Bay.
The journey up the Rock River after exiting the Mississippi flyway can treacherous for these birds. In the past few years, Hoo Haven animal shelter just over the state line in Illinois has taken in at least three pelicans apparently burned or mangled colliding with utility wires. Director Karen Herdklotz says they have been seeing more pelicans on the Rock River since Hurricane Katrina. Herdklotz gives talks to Scout groups and schools in Janesville and other Rock County communities. When I spoke to her a few weeks ago, she was still caring for one of the injured pelicans.
Glen Loyd lives in Madison and spends many days with family in Rock County. He is a former public information officer for Wisconsin Consumer Protection, publishes a weekly consumer protection blog and is a regular guest on radio consumer protection programs. Glen is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.