There are still some spots left in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s “Pelican Watch Hikes,” program set for noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon.
Hikes will be offered hourly at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Registration is required for the free, all-ages program; call 815-722-9470 or register on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org.
Each year, American white pelicans gather outside the nature center as a pit stop on their journeys north in the spring and south for the winter. These pelicans are different from their southern cousins, the brown pelicans that hang around Florida’s docks. Brown pelicans are smaller and they have different feeding habits. They plunge-dive to catch fish. American white pelicans don’t dive. They use their numbers to corral fish and then they scoop them up into their beaks.
The American white pelicans hanging around Four Rivers this fall are headed south for the winter to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and California as well as Mexico and Central America. They’ll return again to Will County waters in the spring to rest on their way north to breed on islands in lakes and ponds in the upper Midwest the West or Canada.