Community, Local, Nature, Organizations, Park Forest, Recreation

Discover the Magic of Pelican Watch in Will County

Joliet, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Are you unaware that pelicans visit Will County yearly during spring and fall migration? Prepare to get the lowdown on these big and beautiful birds during the annual Pelican Watch on Saturday, Sept. 23.

This is a free, family-friendly Forest Preserve District of Will County event. It celebrates the return of American white pelicans to area waters with fun activities and live pelican presentations. The event will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon.

“Pelican Watch is a great time to visit Four Rivers to learn about this amazing bird and see it firsthand,” said Alexis Lyons, a Forest Preserve interpretive naturalist. “American White Pelicans have already made their way to the confluence of the DuPage and Des Plaines rivers, preparing for the celebration!”

Hoo Has Time for Pelican Watch?

Pelicans in McKinley Woods in October 2021. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Pelican Watch features live pelican presentations by “Hoo” Haven at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Four Rivers Grand Hall. (Limited seating is available.) “Hoo” Haven is a Durand, Illinois-based wildlife rehabilitation and education center. 

Guided hikes will lead attendees to pelican-watching hotspots. And if hungry after hiking to see pelicans, visit Lil’ Deb’s Mobile Eats food truck for tasty treats for sale. 

This year’s Pelican Watch will include fun outdoor activities, too. “There’s something fun for everyone: s’mores around the campfire, jousting in an inflatable ring, and learning about wetlands through a game of hopscotch,” Lyons said.

About Pelicans: Watch

But the pelicans are the main draw, of course. The birds can weigh up to 30 pounds. Their wingspans of 8-10 feet make them one of the most giant birds on the continent. “These unusual birds are a sight to see with their oversized bills, large wingspan, and beautiful white-and-black feathers,” Lyon said. 

She added that Four Rivers attracts pelicans because of the expansive waters found where the rivers join.

“We are fortunate that hundreds of these fascinating birds gather here at Four Rivers,” she said. “Their visit only occurs twice a year during their migration to and from their breeding grounds. This unique experience is worth sharing with everyone at our Pelican Watch event!”

Volunteers are still needed to help at Pelican Watch. If you want to sign up, contact volunteer services supervisor Emily Kenny at 815-722-7364 or [email protected].

Pelican Watch is supported by funding from Alliance Pipeline, a joint venture of Enbridge and Pembina, and through the assistance of The Nature Foundation of Will County.

For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit