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White pelicans migrating through Illinois

Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014 11:52 p.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, April 13, 2014 11:53 p.m. CST

UTICA – Bird watchers are having a field day as American white pelicans make their annual migration through Illinois.

The (LaSalle) News-Tribune reported that the large birds are also provoking surprise among people who don’t expect to see them this far north.

Tom Williams is a volunteer at Starved Rock State Park in north central Illinois, where pelicans are stopping along the Illinois River. He said people are more accustomed to seeing pelicans in Florida or other ocean-front locales.

That’s because white pelicans winter on the coasts. But they always fly north in the spring to nest along waterways in Canada, the Great Plains and western mountain states.

Williams said the birds have shifted their migration eastward over time, and have been seen in central Illinois for about 20 years.

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