Drought may be driving up North Dakota pelican population
BISMARCK, N.D. – Abnormally dry weather may have helped boost the number of American white pelicans nesting in north-central North Dakota, considered North America’s largest refuge for the big-billed birds.
Results of an aerial survey show 16,600 pelicans nesting at the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge, an increase of about 2,400 birds from a year ago when high water gobbled up much of their nesting grounds.
Jennifer Jewett, a wildlife refuge specialist, says the main nesting island is only about half the size it was seven years ago.
She says the drought that has parched the state may have helped curb rising water at the main nesting island