Farmers Exchange Bank Cherokee Main Street

Pelican Viewing

Starting date:
Ending date:

Always call # confirm
Event# 580-596-6111

Event Details

Pelican Viewing --- thousands of pelicans typically migrate to the Great Salt Plains area in Mid-Sept. The number of birds are dependent upon when the pelicans choose to migrate into the area. Typically mid September.


White pelicans start arriving at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in early September as they migrate south from their nesting grounds in Canada, the Dakotas, Colorado, Wyoming and Minnesota. They stop at Salt Plains to feed and rest before continuing their annual trek south to the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast where they will spend the winter. The white pelican population will peak at Salt Plains NWR at 20,000 to 50,000 birds. White pelicans are four to five feet tall and have a wingspan of eight feet. They will feed primarily on small fish such as carp and shad in the shallow Salt Plains Lake. The white birds have black wing tips and gather fish with their pouched bills.

The Refuge has a large variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds. Over 300 different species have been identified in the area. There is also a variety of other wildlife which can be seen including deer and turkey. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Refuge office for information or directions. A hiking trail and an auto tour route are also located near the Refuge office. Shorebirds may also be seen at the Shorebird Trail located along Highway 11.

There are no fees or permits required. Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 500 National Wildlife Refuges located throughout the nation, which are operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The area is well known for its tremendous waterfowl and shorebird populations. It has been recognized by the American Bird Conservancy as a globally important bird area and is also designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Preserve. It is also a stopover point for whooping cranes migrating south to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast.

Pelican Viewing

Phone : 580-596-6111   (Always call and confirm events.)

Web Address :
Admission Fee : Free


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