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Resident sees pelican on Lanier
Boater spots bird near Thompson Bridge
0516PELICAN3
This pelican was spotted Monday evening on Lake Lanier near Thompson Bridge.

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Susan Graybeal has lived on Lake Lanier since 1997, but she’s never seen what she saw Monday night.

“I was out on the lake cruising around and saw this odd-looking bird, got up closer and realized it was a pelican,” Graybeal said.

According to Robin Hill, a spokeswoman with the Department of Natural Resources, pelican sightings aren’t common on the lake — but they’re not that uncommon either.

“It’s really not that unusual to see pelicans this far inland,” she said. “It’s not an everyday occurrence, of course, but it’s just not that unusual.”

They can travel inland for a number of reasons, including weather patterns, Hill added.

Graybeal, who was in her ski boat in the area of Thompson Bridge when she saw the bird, said none of the people she asked had ever seen a pelican on the lake.

“We’ve seen osprey; we’ve had bald eagles right out back here sitting on the neighbors’ dock, and all kinds of wildlife birds out back, and this is the first we’ve spotted a pelican,” she said.

The birds are found on many of the world’s coastlines and also along lakes and rivers, according to National Geographic. They typically travel in flocks.

Hill said pelicans can live on freshwater fish and usually find their way back to the coast eventually.

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