American White Pelican at Carseland Weir

American White Pelican at Carseland Weir

Carseland Weir is home to dozens of these beautiful birds every spring and summer. The weir is designed to divert water from the Bow River into a canal system that provides irrigation water for agriculture. Pelicans congregate below the weir because fish cannot pass the structure and become trapped below it. For birds it’s an all you can eat buffet. A similar weir near downtown Calgary has also been a regular attraction for the Pelicans in recent years; however, it is currently being redeveloped in an attempt to allow fish to pass and to make the river safer for boaters. As a result it is expected that the Pelicans will no longer congregate on the river in the city.

This was my third visit to the Carseland Weir this season, but it was the first time I found Pelicans. There were nearly two dozen of them gathered together below the weir looking for a meal, and several dozen more sitting on a small island in the river above the weir.

They were initially wary of me as I approached the edge of the river, but I sat down on the rocks and waited. Eventually they relaxed and floated close enough for me to make some great images.

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Sean lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and is surrounded by majestic views of the Rocky Mountains and constantly changing prairie landscapes. While focusing on the beauty of the prairies, including the sweeping horizons, the vegetation, and the birds and animals, the Eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains are also a favorite place to wander and photograph.