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The Look Out by Leslie van de Ligt

Photographic Prints

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Canon Rebel XSI, Canon 100 – 400 mm
Skeleton Lake, Boyle, Alberta Canada

It is with unending fascination that I watch and admire these big graceful birds, whether at rest or fishing. Here three, Yes three are resting(count the feet) but one is watching us from a distance wary that we come to close. Bless the big lens.


Status: Although it was removed from the national list of threatened species in 1987, the American white pelican is still considered endangered in Alberta. The population here is increasing (from 548 nesting pairs in 1980 to over 1,000 today) but fewer than half of the 20 known historic nesting islands are still in use.

Habitat: White pelicans arrive in Alberta in late April. The birds are very social and group their nests together in colonies. They leave before freeze-up in late September and migrate to the coasts of Florida and Mexico for the winter.

Appearance: One of the world’s largest birds, it weighs 5-8 kg and has a wingspan up to 3 m. Beneath it’s long, flattened bill is a bright yellow-orange pouch for feeding.

Food: Adults can consume up to 2 kg of food each day. In shallow water, they scoop up as much as 20 litres, straining out the young, warm-water fish, salamanders, frogs and aquatic invertebrates.

Breeding: Both sexes prominently display their bright orange bills during courtship rituals which include bowing, strutting and short flights. Egg-laying in a colony begins in mid-May. Both adults tend the large, chalky white eggs until they hatch about a month later.

Lifespan: 12-14 years in the wild.

Risk factors: The most significant effect on white pelican populations in Alberta is disturbance of their breeding sites, by humans or industrial activity. The birds may abandon an entire nesting colony, leaving eggs and young chicks to be trampled or exposed to harsh weather and predators.

Changing water levels due to drought, irrigation and recreational use may also cause the birds to abandon a colony, at least temporarily.

Photographic Prints

pelican, lake, napping watching

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pelican, lake, napping watching

I am an amateur photographer from Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada.
Love scenery, wildlife and anything that catches my eye as being unique. Have a Canon Rebel XSI with a 100mm – 400mm Lens that allows me to get some wonderful captures!

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  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 2 years ago

  • Thanks for the banner Ray. So appreciated :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Michael Collier
    Michael Collierover 2 years ago

    Fantastic capture Leslie, just beautiful.

  • Many thanks Mike! I just love these guys and they are so photogenic with their coloring. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • AnnDixon
    AnnDixonover 2 years ago

    Natures Paintbrush

    BEAUTIFUL work

  • Thank you so much Ann and I appreciate the banner very much! :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsover 2 years ago

    Beautiful shot of these graceful (not) birds sis.
    Did you get to Skeleton Lake while you were home?

  • Nope had this tucked away but I do love them so…. Thank you Sis :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • JohnDSmith
    JohnDSmithover 2 years ago

    Fantastic capture,…..

  • Thanks so much much and for the fave as well :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • CanyonWind
  • Many thanks for the feature and the lovely banner Pops. So appreciated :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesover 2 years ago

    2012/04/28 1 Image per 24hrs

  • Thank you very much for the banner and favorite Margaret. Truly appreciated. :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyover 2 years ago

    Fantastic capture…

  • Thanks so much Carol:>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • shortshooter-Al
    shortshooter-Alover 2 years ago

    A nice shot Leslie. I enjoyed reading your info too. It sounds like they have had a hard time over the years.

  • Hi Al! They seem to be recovering nicely now and they are always a fave for me at the lake! Thank you so much! :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

  • deb cole
    deb coleover 2 years ago

    Marvellous capture, Leslie! And excellent info as well!!

  • Hey Deb, Thanks for the Banner and lovely comment :>)) Leslie

    – Leslie van de Ligt

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