Saskatoon residents have special visitors each summer. April through October, pelicans gather by the weir to fish. These birds, once on the endangered species list, have been a beautiful sight on the South Saskatchewan River since the late 1970s. For Saskatoon residents, their arrival is a harbinger of spring.

Meewasin has been holding a Pelican Watch Contest since 1996. Each spring Saskatoon residents guess the arrival time of the first pelican to Saskatoon to land between the CPR Bridge and the weir.  However, it is more than a contest. It is an opportunity to learn about the pelican.

The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds on the continent weighing 7 – 10 kg and having a wing span of up to 3 metres.  Breeding birds develop an orange horn on their bill that falls off after nesting season. The breeding birds seen at the weir have likely flown to Saskatoon from Redberry Lake, the site of the nearest colony.  The pelicans make the 160 km trip daily.  In late fall, our pelicans migrate to sites in California, Florida, Mexico and Guatemala. 

Meewasin and sponsors invite you to guess the date and arrival time, as observed by our official spotters from the Saskatoon Nature Society, of the first pelican to touch down between the CPR Bridge and the weir.  Entry is free, limited to one person; and must be registered with Meewasin between March 1 and 31. Arrival times over the past 20 years have been between April 4 and April 20.

Sponsors

Contest Location

Meewasin and sponsors invite you to guess the date and arrival time, as observed by our official spotters from the Saskatoon Nature Society, of the first pelican to touch down between the CPR Bridge and the weir. Entry is free, limited to one per person; and must be registered with Meewasin between March 1 and 31. Arrival times over the past 20 years have been between April 4 and April 20.

Location to enter the contest

Previous Years' Arrival Times

  • April 14, 2016 at 6:15 am
  • April 17, 2015 at 12:40 pm
  • April 20, 2014 at 3:15pm
  • April 15, 2013 at 3:40pm
  • April 4, 2012 at 7:00am
  • April 14, 2011 at 12:29pm
  • April 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm
  • April 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm
  • April 6, 2008 at 4:35 pm
  • April 15, 2007 at 4:00 pm
  • April 13, 2006 at 5:15 pm
  • April 15, 2005 at 6:30 pm
  • April 12, 2004 at 4:00 pm
  • April 18, 2003 at 4:25 pm
  • April 12, 2002 at 6:43 pm
  • April 13, 2001 at 5:15 pm
  • April 8, 2000 at 1:55 pm
  • April 9, 1999 at 4:34 pm
  • April 16, 1998 at 8:51 am
  • April 17, 1997 at 12:10 pm
  • April 8, 1996 at 12:35 pm

Prize Information

The guesses closest to the official pelican arrival time have the chance to win one of these great prizes:

  • Mountain bike courtesy Realty Executives, Saskatoon.
  • Binoculars and bird feeder courtesy Don's Photo Shop and Wild Birds Unlimited, Saskatoon.
  • Overnight stay for two courtesy White Pelican Bed & Breakfast, Saskatoon.
  • Homestead Ice Cream Pelican Party for a school classroom.
  • One year membership, water bottle and T-shirt courtesy Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan.
  • Grocery certificate courtesy Pelican Market, Saskatoon.
  • Five "Watching Wildlife" packages including a folding chair, fanny pack, small binoculars, water bottle and bird identification field guide courtesy Meewasin and Wild Birds Unlimited, Saskatoon.
  • Interpretive Canoe Tour Charter for 9 in Meewasin 10 passenger canoe courtesy Meewasin.
  • Folkmanis Puppet
  • Native shrub, Meewasin Plant-A-Tree program courtesy Meewasin.
  • Engraved brick, Brick Program courtesy Meewasin.