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American White Pelicans are rarely seen in Cumberland County, TN.  The small flock of about fifteen big white birds came to visit this morning on our 101 acre private community lake!  What a wonderful sight!  The American White Pelican usually lives in the upper Mid-west and prairie states with some also living in the West.  These large water birds live in lakes and along marshes in larger rivers.  They winter along the Gulf of Mexico with many in Florida.  When seen in Tennessee, the American White Pelicans are usually found in the Western section of Tennessee, closer to the Mississippi River.

The American Pelican uses its bill to scoop up fish from shallow depths.  They do not dive like the Brown Pelicans do.  The American White Pelican will eat fish, and small aquatic animals such as Crayfish or Frogs.  They also hunt cooperatively at times and will encircle fish by gathering together.  The American White Pelicans usually have very large flocks.  The group here on the lake may just be an advance scout group or simply strayed from the big flock. In any event I think that the American White Pelicans are very interesting birds!  I was thrilled to get a glimpse of these spectacular visitors!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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Comments on: "A Flock of American White Pelicans Comes to Call" (14)

  1. What a lovely surprise! And you got some good pictures! My favorite is the one in the group, top right. I have never seen a real pelican.

    • Hi Ginny, I have never seen an American White Pelican either until today. I had seen the Brown Pelican which lives in California’s coastal areas. I like that same picture. The Pelican was stretching its wings. The group moved around very slowly as a mass but individuals did move their positions a bit and occasionally would stretch. Have a great day today!

  2. We just observed a small group of 6 White Pelicans over Cordell Hull Lake (Cumberland River) near Carthage. I’ve seen them on Lake Okeechobee in Florida, but never before in TN.

    • Steve Stedman said:

      Hi Greg,

      I know of no record of Am. White Pelican in Smith County, so would I would like to know more details about your sighting. Were upriver or downriver from Carthage when you saw these pelicans? Were they in flight or on the river? Did you get a photo by chance?

      Thanks, Steve Stedman

      • Hi Steve,

        Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture. They were flying in a leisurely formation over our house. We lived for many years near the coast in Florida – including several years on St. Pete Beach – so we’ve seen lots of Pelicans, including a large flock of Am. Whites on Lake Okeechobee ( I have pictures of that). I just couldn’t believe I was seeing Pelicans in TN. I got my binoculars and got a good look at them. Then I got my wife – who didn’t believe me until she saw them. By the time I got my camera they were out of range. We’re a few miles east – upriver – from Carthage on Sullivan Bend on Cordell Hull lake on the eastern edge of Smith Co. The birds were heading southeast.

        Greg Woods

  3. Wow, brilliant – I saw pelicans in Florida, down at The Keys, when we visited a few years ago. Weird birds but fantastic weird if you know what I mean? LOL!
    Not a bird we see in the UK

    All the best


  4. Wow, I had no idea that pelicans of any kind live away from the sea. I just googled American White Pelican and apparently they do live in Michigan–mostly farther north, but you would rarely see more than a few at a time. They are beautiful birds and you got some great pictures of them! Interesting how they are staying huddled so close together making them look like an ice floe. 🙂

    I just posted some photos on my blog–hoping you can help indentify the goose and ducks. 🙂

    • Hi Kateri, How wonderful for you that these big beauties live in your home state. I will have a look at your blog and let you know if I can identify the waterfowl. Have a super great day tomorrow!

  5. What a treat! You got some great photos too!

    • Hi Montucky, Yes, the big birds were such an unusual sight this morning. As far as I know, the flock was gone on its way by about noon. So, I got the pictures just in the proverbial nick of time. Have a fantastic day tomorrow!

  6. I love the pelicans, they are cool looking birds. Great shots! I got to see a lot of Pelicans when I visited Yellowstone National park and at the Tetons.

  7. What beautiful birds! We don’t get a lot of pelicans around here (big surprise) but I’ve always liked them.
    Great post today!

    • Hi Song of the Wolf, Great to hear from you. I too am quite surprised to learn that your area does not have many pelicans. Have a wonderful evening tonight and a great day tomorrow!

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