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Manitoba: a pelican paradise?

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Did you know that how we treat and care for our water resources in Manitoba impacts a third of the world's American White Pelicans? Let's dive into some facts about pelicans in Manitoba.


Around half of the Canadian population and a third of all American White Pelicans come to Manitoba in the summer. Usually, pelicans arrive here and start breeding in May. They continue nesting until mid-August. Commonly, these birds spend their winters as far away as Texas or Mexico.

pelican flapping wings in water

Where do Pelicans Like to Eat and Live?

Pelicans like to breed, nest and fish on or near Manitoba's lakes, rivers and ponds. Pelicans also like to swim around and eat fish at the bottom of rapids from dams or waterfalls, which is why you can see hundreds of pelicans in Lockport. It's such a popular spot for these birds that the Manitoba Government declared an area at St. Andrews Lock and Dam a special conservation area for pelicans.

You can see pelicans in cities and towns in Manitoba. Still, they prefer fishing and nesting together in big groups on Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba or Lake Winnipegosis.

group of pelicans in water

Pelicans Love Lake Winnipeg

Pelican Islands Ecological Reserve is a series of six small islands on Lake Winnipeg. Pelicans and other shorebirds, including endangered birds like the piping plover, live there. Large groups of pelicans choose one of the islands as their preferred nesting site for the year.

a pelican soaring through air

Are Pelicans Endangered?

Pelicans used to be a species at risk. Pollution and draining of wetlands have harmed pelican populations. But their population have returned to a healthy number thanks to the Manitoba Government changing some environmental laws and creating protected areas for the species.

Pelicans could be at risk again in the future if we take water for granted today. We need to realize how our actions impact our precious water sources and the animals that rely on them to live.

As always: stay curious, stay safe and stay lake friendly.


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