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Birds of Lake Independence:
The American Pelican

It's mid-April and the time of year you will see Pelicans on Lake Independence. Even though we had an unusually warm winter, the Pelicans are here right on time this year. Several sightings in the past week have been reported.

The American white pelican is one of Minnesota's largest birds, with a length of 1.2-1.8 m (3.9-5.9 ft.) and a wingspan of 2.4-2.9 m (7.8-9.5 ft.). The bird's size, white plumage, black wing tips and outer secondaries, and large, orange bill distinguish it from any other species.

Pelicans are returning to Minnesota as part of their annual northern migration from the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Minnesota is the summer home for 20 percent of the North American white pelican population. The majority settle at Marsh Lake in Big Stone County as well as in Lac qui Parle and Swift counties. As the pelicans move to these counties, DNR officials say many pelicans will make stops at lakes in southern Minnesota, including Lake Independence.  Lake residents report seeing flocks early in the season, herding minnows into the shallows to sccop them up. Their pouches can hold 3 gallons. They also eat frogs, mollusks, crayfish, snails and some vegetation.

Pelicans will start to nest in large groups. The birds will nest on the ground, likely on isolated islands. DNR officials ask the public to watch from afar as pelicans are sensitive to a human presence and could easily be scared off, abandoning their eggs.

Once thought to have been wiped out from the state, pelicans were found in the state in 1968. Since then, conservation efforts have helped the state's pelican population grow.

LICA Annual Meeting 2024 B.png

Our Annual Members Meeting is being held at 1pm on April 20 at YMCA Camp Ihduhapi. In addition to our annual election and membership update, Brian Vlach from Three Rivers Parks District will be presenting on Independence related water issues, including the TMDL update. And DNR Fisheries Specialist, Kristan Maccaroni will be presenting Fisheries Management and Trends on Lake Independence. Kristan oversees DNR surveys and field work on our lake. In her presentation, she will provide an inside look at the health of our fishery! Tony Brough will also give us an update on Hennepin County's LakePledge AIS awareness program. Light refreshments will be served.

We hope you can join us!! 

2024 Calendar of Events


Saturday February 17


Sunday, March 2

Annual Members Meeting

Camp Ihduhapi

Saturday, April 20, 1:00 PM

4th of July Flotilla

On the Lake!

Thursday, July 4, 1:00 PM

Trolley Crawl

Maple Park

Sunday, September 15, 1:00 PM

Oktoberfest in September Picnic

Lakeshore Park

Saturday, October 5, 11:30 AM

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