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1st pelican of 2019 touches down on South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon

The first pelican of 2019 to land between the weir and CPR Bridge was spotted by the Saskatoon Nature Society on April 17. Karen Edwards / Viewer Supplied

Pelicans have returned to the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon.

The Meewasin Valley Authority said the first pelican to touch down in 2019 was observed by official spotters with the Saskatoon Nature Society at 5:07 p.m. on April 17.

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American white pelicans typically arrive in Saskatoon between April 4-20.

This is the 24th year of the Meewasin pelican watch contest. The winners those who correctly guessed when the first bird will land in the official splashdown zone between the CPR Bridge and the weir.

“It’s always exciting when the pelicans arrive,” Meewasin CEO Andrea Lafond said in a press release.

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“They are a wonderful reminder of the importance of protecting natural habitats and the arrival of spring.”

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Meewasin said the breeding birds seen at the weir have likely flown to Saskatoon from Redberry Lake, the site of the nearest nesting colony.

The pelicans migrate to California, Florida, Mexico and even Guatemala in late fall.

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