Pelicans' northerly nesting grounds shrinking

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Associated Press

Posted on June 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Updated Saturday, Jun 28 at 9:35 AM

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The federal Fish and Wildlife Service says rising lake levels are swallowing American white pelicans' nesting grounds at an island in central North Dakota.

Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge Manager Neil Shook says about 30,000 pelicans returned to this year to find water had gobbled their main nesting island by several acres.

Shook says the island has been shrinking by a couple of acres annually since the early 1990s. He says the island decreased from 24 acres to about 15 acres in the past year.

Biologists aren't overly worried yet. The main nesting island was first used by pelicans in early 1990s after an island previously preferred by the pelicans was swamped.

Shook says the rising water has submerged some islands and created others over the decades.

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