Have you ever wondered where the American White Pelican migrates to during the Winter? Arizona (some even to Prescott)! They can be spotted year-round but are mainly here from October to March.

White pelicans migrate here during the winter months, however, the pelicans that are non-breeding may stay up north. Colonies stretch from Canada to Mexico.

A trio of white pelicans on the lake.
They are found on lakes, marshes, and secluded lake islands where they forage for fish, salamanders, and crawfish. White pelicans like to settle inland unlike the Brown Pelican. White Pelicans are massive in size sporting a wingspan of up to 9ft from end to end!

Migrating together in a flock, White Pelicans are very agile fliers although they are very big birds. Usually, they are found together but there is the occasional “lone wolf” or rather a lone pelican, as it were, who wonders about different places not usually in the migration path like the East Coast for example. 

Of all the places in the world (kind of sounding a bit like Rick there from Casablanca), it does seem odd that the White Pelican would choose Prescott, Arizona to migrate to during the winter. Not only is it very inland but also surrounded by mountains, forests, and grasslands. And you don’t think pronghorn and pelicans would be likely neighbors. But perhaps this proves that Prescott (and the Central Highlands) truly is everybody’s hometown!

Take this Wonder Fact as your invitation to head out to one of the many lakes found in Prescott and see if you can spot a White Pelican or two swimming about!

Until next time, wonder, explore, and discover!

Interested in learning more about the Central Highlands of Arizona? Check out our natural history classes at highlandscenter.org/adult-programs



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