Sun Lakes has had an unusual visitor


Gene Lariviere and Conrad LaRiviere

A white pelican appeared on Diamond Lake in Oakwood for two days around Christmas.

He returned in mid-January for about five days. This time, we were able to get binoculars and see that he had large green tags with 0C6 on them.

A search of the web led to the discovery that several white pelican breeding grounds have a tagging program. They are distinguished by the color of the tags and the identification numbers and letters.

The Sun Lakes pelican’s green tag indicated he came from Gunnison Island in the Great Salt Lake. The island hosts up to 20,000 nesting pelicans.

Further research yielded the email address of John Neill, Avian Biologist, Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

John responded that this bird was banded as a juvenile on Gunnison Island on August 18, 2017.

Ours was the first sighting reported on 0C6 and the first of the 2017 group reported in this part of Arizona. Others have been sighted on the lower Colorado River in Arizona and on the Salton Sea.

Pelican 0C6 returned to Diamond Lake on February 11. This is at least his fourth stop at the lake, so he is likely to appear again in the next month or so.

If you see pelicans with banding, the wildlife specialists really want you to report the sightings. You can do so at