American White Pelicans at Lake Sinissippi in Dodge County Wisconsin on August 10, 2016

I checked out a birding spot coming home from Horicon Marsh and found some American White Pelicans on Lake Sinnissippi. These appeared to be mostly juveniles but not 100% certain. They were fishing in groups which pelicans typically do and missed fish on most occasions under the water. A few times one in the group would get a nice size fish and the group would go crazy, they fought hard trying to take fish from the one who got it. I noticed on a couple images one pelican actually put the pelican with the fish in a head-lock and next in a neck-hold! It got pretty crazy! A fun couple hours out when I least expected it.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Binomial name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Category: Pelicans

Size: 62” long, 108” wing span

Weight: 16.4 lbs

Cool fact: One of the largest birds in North America. Their pouch, bottom of their bill can hold up to 3 gallons of water.

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans

When the start to fish, they gather in some what a circle, put their bills in the water and try to all go down into the water about the same time

For fishing, many pelicans gather in some what a circle, put their bills in the water and try to all go down into the water about the same time, amazing!

They all go down into the water about the same time.

Fishing…

This group all came up empty, no fish

This group came up empty, no fish

Time to re-group, move to another location and try again

Time to re-group, they move to another location, usually near by and try again, they must hear fish, sense fish, as they are attracted to a new location. The process was on going the time I was present.

Fish again

They fish again

Going down once again, they do this for hours, typically how the pelican fishes for food

Down they go…

Going for the food can get rough

A fish is caught on the left and it gets crazy as other pelicans want the fish too!

Typical

The excitement continues as they try to take the fish away

The battle

The struggle continues, the fish still in the pelicans pouch…

The battle

The struggle continues…

The battle

and continues…

Will it give up the fish?

Will this pelican give up the fish?

Still has it in the bag

Still has the fish in the pouch on the right trying get control of the fish

Wow

Looks like a head-lock is being used by another pelican on the left, they are still after the fish!

Wow,

Now it looks like a neck-hold is being used in the middle!

I'm not giving it up!

Not giving it up, fish in the pouch in the middle

The struggle is still on

The struggle still continues…

The struggle is still on...

The struggle is still on…

It heads out of the group

Finally the pelican heads out of the group with the fish…

Away it goes, it has gotten away with the fish

Off it goes with the fish

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

Going fishing

Going fishing

Doing some preening

Doing some preening

More preening

More preening

American White Pelican making a pass over the area

American White Pelican makes a loop around the area

And just continuing on its way

The flyover

The landing

The landing

Fishing

Fishing

One gets a fish

Another fish, on the left side

Another struggle

Another struggle, fish in the middle

It continues

The struggle continues, a few other pelicans want the fish too

Going with the fish in pouch

Going with the fish in pouch

The struggle

The struggle

No swallowing this fish, I think just getting a better grip on it

Not swallowing this fish, I think just getting a better grip on it, it moved out of the area with it…

Things settle down and this pelican takes the fish elsewhere

Things settle down and this pelican takes the fish elsewhere

Sensing something here, maybe fish?

Sensing something here, maybe fish?

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans

Moving to the right...

Moving to the right…probably a juvenile

American White Pelican

American White Pelican, probably a juvenile

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

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About admin

Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

8 Responses to American White Pelicans at Lake Sinissippi in Dodge County Wisconsin on August 10, 2016

  1. Stacy says:

    Excellent story telling and photos Jim! Thanks for sharing them. They are spectacular birds!

  2. Mary Korkor says:

    Friday Fish Fry in Wisconsin!…. haha Actually some of the photos remind me of Swan Lake. There is such coordination. It is almost like a dance!

  3. Thomas Wood says:

    I guess the lesson here is that when you get your fish, fly away quickly unless you like to wrestle! Nice sequence, Jim.

  4. Annie says:

    Great pics, Jim. They are such a prehistoric bird….I think…yet amazing. Guess I didn’t realize the size fish they were capable of catching. Thanks again for sharing your entertaining trip home. Better than a movie in my mind!!!!

  5. Tom O'Malley says:

    Although the White Pelican has been in Wisconsin for a number of years now and are becoming more common each year, I continue to enjoy seeing them.

    You have done your usual marvelous job of capturing them in your series.

    Thanks Jim

  6. Darrell Schiffman says:

    Great series of action pictures of White Pelicans feeding and fighting over the catch. Thanks for sharing them.

  7. Sue Braunschweig says:

    beautiful pictures. I live in Hustisford and enjoy watching for the pelicans as I leave for work and get back home 🙂

  8. Diane Berry Jakubowski says:

    Great series of events and photos. I’m interested in purchasing some. I’ll look at your website for more information regarding pricing and process, and/or wait for your response. Thank you.

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