Plus some very good news about Utah’s nesting pelicans.


On a visit to Bear River MBR last month I took multiple photos of this group of American White Pelicans because they were close, in good light and I liked the setting reasonably well. Then I barely looked at the photos when I got home, until yesterday when I noticed something interesting. And to me at least, entertaining.

How many pelicans can you find in this full frame (uncropped) photo?

As I was scrolling through a short burst of photos I took of these birds, at first I saw three pelicans.



And then suddenly there were four of them. This is the very next photo in the burst, after the previous one. Where did the fourth pelican, at the far left, come from?

In the first photo above, that fourth pelican was fishing with its head and neck completely underwater. It’s wings and body appear to belong to pelican #3 because they were lined up so perfectly with that bird. But in the second photo, pelican #4 had fallen behind far enough for me to distinguish it from the pelican behind and in front of it.

Yes, I’ll admit that I’m easily entertained.


And speaking of pelicans, readers will likely remember the calamity that struck Utah’s nesting pelicans last year. But I’ll review anyway.


Overview map of Great Salt Lake and surrounding area. The map depicts Great Salt Lake at the historical average elevation of about 4200 feet (1280 m) and the new historical low of 4188 feet (1277 m). Red box shows location of Gunnison and Cub Islands. map.

For generations the bulk of Utah’s pelicans nested on Gunnison Island in Great Salt Lake because that island is remote and isolated from predators and protected from people. Pelicans, as ground-nesters, are extremely vulnerable to both so as many as 20,000 pelicans nested on the island for years. But as Great Salt Lake began to dry up, land bridges formed that allowed predators like coyotes access to the island. As a result, last year we were devastated to learn that not a single pair of pelicans nested on Gunnison Island.

This year, Great Salt Lake is beginning to recover so a few of our pelicans are nesting on Gunnison Island again. But there’s better news. Pelicans haven’t nested on Hat Island since 1943 but recently state wildlife biologists found 1300 pelicans nesting there.

So now they’re nesting on both islands again. If we can just get the lake healthy, and keep it there, maybe our pelicans will have a chance over the long haul



Note: Here’s a link to a recent KSL News article about the return of nesting pelicans to Hat and Gunnison islands.



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Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.


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