Missouri birders fish for brown pelican explanation

A brown pelican perches on Binder Lake west of Jefferson City. Local birders don’t have an explanation for how or why the bird is out of its regular territory.

A brown pelican perches on Binder Lake west of Jefferson City. Local birders don’t have an explanation for how or why the bird is out of its regular territory.

One Jefferson City visitor is causing quite a splash at Binder Lake. A brown pelican, first spotted May 29, seems to have taken up residence hundreds of miles from its native range.

“One of the local birders here was out there checking the lake for birds of any kind and saw the brown pelican. Then he posted it on a statewide Internet discussion group,” said Jim Rathert, a retired Missouri Department of Conservation wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who has visited the lake to see the bird himself.

“They’re saltwater birds. For them to come inland is pretty unusual,” Rathert said.

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