Pelicans? In Muncie? Yep!

A group of American White Pelicans spotted on April 3rd, 2022 at Prairie Creek Reservoir, Muncie Indiana.

Recently I saw a few posts and heard some rumblings on social media about the “pelicans at the reservoir”. I considered heading out to try and take some pictures but figured they would be long gone by the time I got out there, so I kinda forgot about it. Then one Saturday morning a week or so later, I found myself out at Prairie Creek Reservoir for a spring trash clean-up event around the trails area with a buddy and his son. On our drive home, we happened upon a group of pelicans flying around! The next morning I decided to grab my 200-500 telephoto and see what I could find. Luck was on my side that day and several hundred were paddling around a side pond to the reservoir! I carefully took a wooded path that led around the pond, letting me get within just a few hundred feet of them. After getting some good shots, I decided to see if there were more at Summit Lake State Park, just 2 miles south. Another group was there as well, numbering at least 100 individuals.

Pretty large group of pelicans in the shallow backwaters of Prairie Creek Reservoir

In my post-trip research, I also learned that Indiana is a good two states farther east than their typical range. We have had a few strong storm systems in the last several weeks – perhaps this flock was blown off track and ended up in east-central Indiana. I looked around on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website it does appear that pelicans are spotted relatively often in Indiana, but more often to the west and south at areas like Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife area. It should be mentioned…They are enormous. I also learned that they can have a wingspan up to 10ft! Only the California Condor is larger!

The typical range of the American White Pelican

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