Weather Forecast


Spring migration

A flock of 100 or more white pelicans has spent the past week on Lake Mallalieu, mainly between the Second/Sixth Street bridge and the dam.

The unusual visitors have attracted a lot of attention and prompted many calls to the Star-Observer office.

Some say it isn't that uncommon for pelicans to pass through Hudson in the spring on the way to breeding grounds in northwestern Minnesota, the Dakotas and Canada. What's unique about this year's visit is the number of birds, the length of their stay and the fact that they're on Lake Mallalieu instead of the St. Croix River.

Michele Woodford, a wildlife biologist at the Eau Claire office of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the ice on northern waters and good fishing in the Mallalieu is probably what is keeping the big-billed, fish-eaters in Hudson.

"They call that staging when they hang around on the lakes waiting for the other waters to open up," Woodford said. "If there's food that they can get to easily, they'll probably stick around and catch fish for a while."

She said white pelicans work together in groups to herd fish into shallow water, and then catch them by dipping their bills into the water.

The smaller, dark-colored waterfowl sharing Lake Mallalieu with the pelicans are cormorants.

Cormorants also are fish-eaters, but they dive beneath the water to catch their meals.

A visit to the St. Croix River late last week revealed several species of ducks also making a stop in Hudson on their way north. They included American coots, buffleheads and mergansers.