Seeing white pelicans use to be something the people of Illinois had to travel to other states to experience, but apparently these awesome birds are making more and more appearances in the Land of Lincoln.

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According to an article from NBCchicago.com rare white pelicans are returning to Illinois as a part of their migration route. These white pelicans, that are actually known as American White Pelicans, are making their way to the Gulf of Mexico for the winter from Canada and northern states like Wisconsin. In the article they say...

"It is a trip that means hundreds of them [the pelicans] stop to rest near the Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon, 50 miles, southwest of Chicago. Thousands more stop for a bit about 150 miles beyond Channahon at the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in Lewistown."

What is really cool for us here in the Tri-State Quincy/Hannibal area is that the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in Lewiston is only about 90 miles away! To read the full story about the American White Pelican migration through Illinois click here!

To me the other part of this story that is fascinating, besides having the chance to drive and go see these beautiful birds, is why the birds are returning to Illinois on their migrations. The article talks about two different possibilities, one being that there has been an effort to restore wetland areas and the population of these birds has grown, BUT the one that has me intrigued is the fact that the birds may have found all the Asian carp that are invading Illinois waterways, and are feasting on them. Which would be a win for us in Illinois trying to limit the spread of the Asian Carp.

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