PLEASANT VIEW, P.E.I. - Training his binoculars on something white he saw in the Black Pond in Pleasant View on Wednesday, David Aylward was surprised when an American white pelican came into view.
He had seen the aquatic birds with the big beaks during vacations in Florida before, but never anywhere near his Pleasant View home.
And while an internet search soon confirmed such sightings were rare for P.E.I., Aylward chuckled that one of those sightings was in the Souris area, in a body of water also called Black Pond.
Aylward believes the bird is healthy, just a few thousand kilometers off course.
“He’s moving around; he’s flying,” he reported.
At times on the water and in the sky it was in the company of a flock of black ducks.
David and Marlene Aylward marveled at the pelican’s wingspan, suggesting it surpasses that of the majestic bald eagles that are known to frequent the Pleasant View area.
A Wikipedia description of American white pelicans indicate the adult birds have a wingspan of 240 to 300 centimeters and an overall length of 130 to 180 centimeters, between 29 and 39 centimeters of that being their beak. Of all North American birds, its wingspan is rivaled by only the California condor.
The bird was first seen in the pond on Wednesday when wind conditions were calm. Aylward suspected the pelican would wait out Thursday’s strong wind before heading off for a warmer climate.
It was still in the pond at nightfall on Thursday.
The birds do make it as far as the prairies and Northwest Territories during nesting season but, by this time of year, are usually well into their southern migration.