Pelicans Establishing Habitat in Lake Erie

Observers say hundreds have been sighted in recent years

Pelicans are not a species that bird enthusiasts in Southeast Michigan and Ontario typically look for. But, the bird observatory on Pelee Island in Southwest Ontario, says in recent years as many as 200 pelicans have been spotted along the beaches. Founder of the observatory, Graeme Gibson says the home range for American White Pelicans does include Michigan and points north, but it had been rare to spot one until a few years ago.

“The observatory has been researching birds on the island for about 15 years now and so there were no records prior to that and then suddenly they started appearing and they have grown quite substantially I’d would say” – Graeme Gibson

Gibson says during 2014, just a few pelicans spent the summer along Lake Erie. Last summer a couple hundred rested in the area, and he says this summer about 60 have been counted so far. He says there is also evidence of pelicans nesting on the smaller islands in Lake Erie.


  • Amy Miller
    Amy has been working in public and commercial radio for the last 30 yrs. She is an award winning reporter and news anchor, born and raised in Detroit.