PHOENIX — Arizona is known as haven for many species of birds that escape the harsh winters up north, including cranes and snow geese. You can now add pelicans to the list!
The American White Pelican usually migrates to the Great Salt Lake and the west coast of Mexico, but over the past decade, it’s been calling the wetlands and preserves of the Valley its home for the winter.
Experts like Tice Supplee from the Arizona Audubon Society says the mild temperatures and man-made ponds stocked with fish have helped lure them in.
“By creating these wetlands that are a result of our water treatment facility at the Tres Rios Wetland on 91st Avenue, we now have perfect stopover and wintering habitat for these birds," Supplee said.
The birds typically head to their breeding homes in Canada and the Upper Midwest around March, but Supplee says to expect more pelicans to migrate to Phoenix in the coming winters.
To view the pelicans at the Tres Rios Wetlands, you must obtain a permit, which can be obtained here.
There are other locations in the Valley where you can see the pelicans without a permit, including the Glendale Recharge Ponds & the Gilbert Riparian Preserve.