The first pelican to touch down between the CPR Bridge and the weir did so, Wednesday, April 18 at 1:54 p.m. as observed by the official spotters from the Saskatoon Nature Society.
Thank you to all who participated, the Saskatoon media and all of the businesses that have supported the contest with prizes including: Don’s Photo Shop, White Pelican Bed and Breakfast, Pelican Media, Houghton-Boston, Saskatoon Co-op, Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon, Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Nature Society and Saskatoon public and catholic schools.
Congratulations to the 2018 Pelican Watch winners and keep your eyes to the skies for next years contest:
- Kodi Hiller - Grand Prize Mountain Bicycle courtesy of the Deane Family
- Karson from St. Philip School - School Ice Cream Party courtesy of Saskatoon Co-op
- Poppy Hudye Baranesky - Binoculars courtesy of Don's Photo Shop saskatoon and Bird Feeder Courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon
- Trent Hoffart - Overnight Stay for Two at White Pelican Bed and Breakfast Saskatoon
- Lily from Sr. O' Brien School - Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
- Obaid from Saskatoon Misbah School - Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
- Darasimi from Ecole Cardinal Leger School - Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
- Shiann from St. Philip School - Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
- Wesley from St. Philip School - Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlmited Saskatoon and Meewasin
- Student from St. Philip School - Wildlife Rehabilitation Society Membership and Prize Pack
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.
With the support of the Saskatoon Nature Society, 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 Saskatoon 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 the public 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.
Previous Years' Arrival Times
- April 18, 2018 at 1:54 pm
- April 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm
- 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