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Species: American White Pelican
Betty joined CALM in December of 2008 after a wing injury kept her from being releasable. CALM partnered with US Fish and Wildlife officials to ensure that Betty was able to heal and be given sanctuary at CALM. Often you will see Betty strutting her stuff in our shorebirds enclosure. She enjoys getting to know the variety of shorebird species that call CALM home; from Canada geese, to mallards to cranes, Betty has had a variety of housemates over her many years at CALM. Her blue eyes and strong nature make her a favorite of many guests at CALM. Did you know that American White Pelicans are a protected species?! The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 keeps birds like Betty from being hunted, traded/sold or killed in the wild.
Habitat: American white pelicans nest in colonies of several hundred pairs on islands in remote brackish and freshwater lakes of inland North America. The most northerly nesting colony can be found on islands in the rapids of the Slave River between Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta, and Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. Several groups have been visiting the Useless Bay (Washington) bird sanctuary since 2015. About 10–20% of the population uses Gunnison Island in the Great Basin’s Great Salt Lake as a nesting ground. The southernmost colonies are in southwestern Ontario and northeastern California.
Nesting colonies exist as far south as Albany County in southern Wyoming.They winter on the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts from central California and Florida south to Panama, and along the Mississippi River at least as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota. In winter quarters, they are rarely found on the open seashore, preferring estuaries and lakes. They cross deserts and mountains but avoid the open ocean on migration. But stray birds, often blown off course by hurricanes, have been seen in the Caribbean. In Colombian territory it has been recorded first on February 22, 1997, on the San Andrés Island, where they might have been swept by Hurricane Marco which passed nearby in November 1996. Since then, there have also been a few observations likely to pertain to this species on the South American mainland, e.g. at Calamar. Wild American white pelicans may live for more than 16 years. In captivity, the record lifespan stands at over 34 years.
Diet: American White Pelicans eat over 4lbs of food per day! At CALM, Betty enjoys a wide variety of fish!