That’s No Snow Bird: White Pelican Lands in Frigid Lake Tahoe

A snow bound American White Pelican may have been making an early trip to breeding grounds at Lake Pyramid in Nevada, when it may have hit a power line in Lake Tahoe area. Photo by Melina Grasso
After being transported from Lake Tahoe, the White Pelican warms up with a Brandt’s Cormorant at Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center. Photo: Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

A recent snow storm blew an American White Pelican off course and into unfamiliar territory: the winter wonderland of South Lake Tahoe, California.

The pelican was likely making an early trip to Lake Pyramid breeding ground east of Lake Tahoe when witnesses say he hit a power line, according to a feature on CBS Sacramento.

Thankfully, two men noticed the wayward waterbird and managed to safely capture him. He was taken to nearby Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, where he was stabilized and transported to International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center.

American White Pelicans generally inhabit inland shallow freshwater lakes and marshes in the summer and coastal lagoons in the winter. When wild birds are found in unusual locations, it’s a sign they need help. Thanks to the rescuers who recognized the urgency and quickly took action, this bird has avoided suffering from hypothermia and other dire consequences.

The journey isn’t over for this pelican. He remains in care, spending his time in the large flight aviary among another American White Pelican recovering from fish hook injuries along with Brown Pelicans, cormorants, and others.

These pelicans eat plenty of fish and require extra care. You can support the staff and volunteers tending to his needs by providing a donation. With a little more time in rehabilitation, he will soon get his second chance at life in the wild.