During their spring and fall migrations, pelicans will visit Missouri’s reservoirs, large rivers, and wetlands where they feed and rest.
They breed in Canada and several northern states in the summer and winter along the Gulf Coast.
One of the best locations in Southwest Missouri is Stockton Lake. With its 9-foot wingspan, yellow-orange pouched bill, and bright orange legs and feet, the American white pelican is a massive and striking bird, especially when aloft.
Clad in white with black wingtips and a neck fixed in an S-shape, pelicans in flight are reminiscent of prehistoric flying reptiles. Pelicans are more graceful in flight than on the ground.
After a fair amount of stomping and wing flapping, they take flight and join others to form a squadron that ascends in spirals.