Lake Eola park rangers say pelican can stay

1st pelican spotted at Lake Eola in decades

By Julie Broughton - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - An unusual sight was reported to Local 6 at Lake Eola on Tuesday--swimming among the swans was a brown pelican.

Wildlife experts said it's not unusual for the birds to occasionally drift inland, but it's rare for them to travel as far as 60 miles. Park rangers said a pelican hasn't been spotted at Lake Eola since the property started being monitored in 1988.

According to Chris Wallace, Lake Eola Park manager, the bird arrived sometime overnight Monday. He said rangers at the park think the pelican got caught up in strong winds from Monday's storms. Wallace said the pelican has spent his time fishing with a group of bird snakes since its arrival.

"And as they're diving down for fish, he's right there with them," Wallace said. "When they move, he moves, until someone gets near him and then he moves to another portion of the lake and flies right back."

Wallace said the pelican won't be removed.

"There's no plan whatsoever," he said. "He flew in and he'll probably fly out when he's done fishing."

There is enough fish to sustain the pelican and it can help control the lake's fish population, Wallace said.  More than 10 species of wildlife are at the park currently and the pelican doesn't pose a threat to any of them.

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