My husband and I recently had a short get-away to St. Cloud MN for the weekend. In our quest to miss the usual lake and cabin traffic on the highway, we took the back roads. What a nice trip, taking our time and stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery of the beautiful countryside.
We stopped at an overlook area on Pigeon Lake near Kimball, MN. The seclusion of this lake attracts Minnesota’s wading birds species to breed and nest here. The birds seen in this area include herons, egrets, cormorants, pelicans, pileated woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and kingfishers.
The wading birds breed in rookeries (a breeding ground or haunt especially of gregarious birds or mammals, Merriam-Webster) in isolated areas.
On the day we were there, on this island in the middle of the lake, there are dozens of American White Pelicans and a few Cormorants. I don’t think I ever recall seeing either of these 2 birds growing up in MN. The cormorants were dying out and have made a come-back due to the reduction of the use of DDT. I don’t know why we seem to have more pelicans now than ever before, but I sure enjoy watching these majectic birds.
Quick Facts About the American White Pelican:
- Nests in colonies of several hundred pairs on islands in remote lakes of inland North America.
- Does not dive for its food; instead catching its prey while swimming.
- Each bird eats more than 4 pounds of food a day, mostly fish, but also dines on crayfish and amphibians.
- Come together in small groups to feed so they can cooperate and chase fish to one another.
Quick Facts About the Double Crested Cormorant:
- All-black bird with a small double crest of black and white feathers on its head during breeding season, hence the name “double-crested”.
- Eats mainly fish, but will also eat amphibians and crustaceans.
- Fish are caught by swimming and diving under water.
- Its feathers are not waterproof; it must spend time drying them out after being in water