Pelicans to the rescue?

Posted on October 6, 2010


Yesterday Lois Dawson called to tell me that she had seen some pelicans socializing with the other waterbirds up on the pond near Atwood.  She had not had her camera, but she had seen them clearly.  When she got home, she went googling about and discovered that other people had seen pelicans in northern Michigan, too.  Not very many of them mind you, but here and there, and more frequently in recent years. 

I cudgeled my brains.  What did I know about pelicans?  Where had I seen . . . oh.  Right here on Torch Lake Views.  Back in March Chris Szejbach sent us photos of pelicans from Florida.  Here is a reprint, just to refresh your memory.

But there was something else . . . Dawn, dawn, lightbulb, as my dad used to say.  When I was growing up in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, we used to go to Pelican Lake.  I looked it up.  Yup.  A hundred years later it’s still there.  Well.  If a lake is named Pelican Lake there must be pelicans around, yes?  Yes.  Turns out there are resident pelicans in northern Wisconsin.  Big ones.  They’d have to be in order to snack on fierce muskies and northern pike. 

Now we are on firmer ground.  I am confident that a pelican that can live on Pelican Lake would find the Chain of Lakes in Antrim County equally hospitable.  Why is this important?  Well.  One of the things I read as I explored the vast and unruly web was that pelicans have been known to eat fullgrown Asian Carp.  Now I am not sure I believe this.  Pelicans are big, but not that big.  However, it opens up an intriguing line of thought.  I am prepared to believe that pelicans will eat juvenile Asian Carp.  Perhaps we should encourage the developing pelican population.  Just a thought.