Endangered white pelicans venture to Vancouver Island, thrilling bird watchers

Fledgling American white pelicans crowd together as Idaho Fish and Game employees and volunteers corral them prior to banding 300 of the birds on Gull Island in the Blackfoot Reservoir on Friday, July 25, 2008. American white pelicans have been spotted in several areas of the Island, from Tofino and Parksville, all the way south to a golf course in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Bill Schaefer
Fledgling American white pelicans crowd together as Idaho Fish and Game employees and volunteers corral them prior to banding 300 of the birds on Gull Island in the Blackfoot Reservoir on Friday, July 25, 2008. American white pelicans have been spotted in several areas of the Island, from Tofino and Parksville, all the way south to a golf course in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Bill Schaefer

VICTORIA - A rare sighting has bird watchers on Vancouver Island aflutter.

American white pelicans have been spotted in several areas of the Island, from Tofino and Parksville, all the way south to a golf course in Victoria.

Victoria-area naturalist Ann Nightingale says climate change may have brought the birds further west than usual but she says it's not certain why the pelicans are suddenly interested in Vancouver Island.

A colony of American white pelicans is known to breed at a site west of Williams Lake in the Chilcotin region, but it is the only breeding colony in B.C., although the birds have well-established breeding sites across the Prairies.

The Environment Ministry says the white pelican has been legally designated as an endangered species in British Columbia.

The migratory bird, which can winter as far south as Central and South America, is one of the largest in North America, with a wing span of up to three metres. (CFAX)

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved. 2017

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