Great white pelican: Rare bird appears at J.N. Ding Darling refuge on Sanibel Island

Posted at 7:48 AM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 16:51:36-05

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. (AP) - A great white pelican has appeared at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge - a good 4,000 miles from its home range.

Southwest Florida news outlets reported Tuesday that the bird was first spotted Sunday.

The stray pelican immediately made waves in the birding community, including among "Ding" Darling staff, who promptly made it the refuge's Facebook cover photo.

"Ding" Darling Supervisory Ranger Toni Westland told a local paper that "It's the rarest of the rare."

Rare Bird Alert! Great White Pelican at the refuge this AM at the Observation Tower. It is native to Africa.#birding ...

Posted by J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge (Official) on Sunday, February 28, 2016

It may be the first North American sighting of the bird, which is a resident of parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.

It's much larger than other, native pelicans in the refuge.



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