Rochester is known for its rather large population of geese, but I spotted a flock of an even more unique bird over the weekend.
I was out with our dog, Asher, for our daily walk in our neighborhood in northwest Rochester Saturday morning when I saw them. It was a flock of large birds, circling overhead. I thought they were geese-- which, as we know here in Rochester-- isn't an odd sight at all.
But these birds looked different. They looked bigger. And, they were flying around in a large circle-like motion, which isn't what I've seen geese here in the Med City do. As it turns out, I'm pretty sure it was actually a flock of pelicans that had somehow ended up here in Rochester.
Ever since we put up a bird feeder in our yard a few years ago, I've become a bit of a bird watcher. We routinely see orioles, blue jays, cardinals, grackles, sparrows, chickadees, crows, robins and other songbirds. I've even noted a few red-tailed hawks in the woods behind our house, and earlier this year, saw a bald eagle soaring overhead.
But I'd never seen pelicans before. I did some online investigating from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and found out that, yes, pelicans HAVE been spotted in Minnesota before, and are known to make an appearance here during their spring and fall migration. In fact, after having declined in the 70s, pelicans have been making a comeback here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Although the DNR says that while Rochester and southeast Minnesota generally aren't home to a lot of pelicans (seeing as we don't have any naturally occurring lakes), there has been a large colony of the unique-looking birds spotted over on Minnesota Lake in Faribault County.
I wasn't the only one to spot the birds with large beaks (which they use to scoop up fish from shallow waters, the DNR noted) last week, either. A former co-worker saw a flock of them near Lake Pepin along the Mississippi River last week. And, Experience Rochester retweeted a few photos when the flock was spotted on Cascade Lake over the weekend as well.
Have you ever seen any pelicans here in Rochester? Meanwhile, speaking of being 'spotted' in Rochester, we all know that the Med City has been visited by numerous famous folks over the years, most of whom have traveled here to seek care at Mayo Clinic. Keep scrolling to see how many of the famous names you recognize!