My family lived in the Oregon, Illinois area for nearly 150 years, starting back with my great-great grandfather before the Civil War. However, in all that time, including living there for the first 21 years of my life, I must say I never once encountered a pelican. Times change, I guess, because more and more people are seeing pelicans in this area.

I got an email over the weekend from alert listener Mike, who had this to share:

My daughter and were down around Oregon on Saturday and while crossing the bridge, thought we saw a group of swans. Pulled into the park by the dam to get a better look and were surprised to see a total of 21 PELICANS on the river and catching fish just downstream of the dam. First time I ever recall seeing Pelicans in the wild in Illinois, let alone on the Rock River!

Mike also sent along some photographic evidence of the Pelican anglers near Oregon's dam:

Mike Woodrow
Mike Woodrow
Mike Woodrow

When I emailed Mike to ask for his permission to share the photos above, he pointed out that Saturday's pelican encounter wasn't just a one-off (and, that he digs the Eagles. The band, not the birds, although I'm guessing that he has a soft spot for them, too):

Hi Riley. Absolutely, share to your hearts content. Drive across that same bridge again yesterday morning on my way to Lost Nations GC and saw more Pelicans then than we did on Saturday. Just how lucky is that?!

On another note, love the Hotel California riffs that you play in the morning's. I'm on CD #2 of that album.


According to a piece in the Chicago Tribune from about a year ago, we're starting to see pelicans all over these parts. Click here for the story.