American White Pelican

Photo by John Gerlach

The American white pelican is one of the largest birds in North America. Large groups sometimes gather in wetlands and cooperate to corral and feed on fish. The prehistoric-looking birds typically breed on islands in shallow inland wetlands, like in the Upper Snake Watershed of Idaho, and generally migrate south to spend winters on coastal waters

American white pelicans breed at three nesting colonies in Idaho. While the species was once threatened, their breeding numbers have increased significantly since the 1990s.

Pelicans feed on Yellowstone cutthroat trout, a native species in the Upper Snake Watershed. Trout numbers have declined significantly in some areas as pelican numbers have increased, prompting ongoing extensive research and management efforts by Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG).

Click here to learn more about American white pelicans, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and IDFG’s management efforts to find a balance between the species.

Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance is partnering with IDFG and regional fisheries to collect citizen science to help monitor sightings of pelicans with wing tags at major locations in the Upper Snake Watershed including Henrys Lake, Harriman State Park, and St. Anthony riverside parks.