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Wrong Turn? - Wayward Pelican Duo Spotted In Park
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Two pelicans besides several raccoons were recently reported and photographed at Jacob Myers Park in Riverbank.

Pelicans haven't been seen there before. Pelicans love to feast on fish and generally are spotted only along the coast and salt water sources.

Recent years have seen plenty of ducks and swans in the park. But pelicans?

"What are they doing here?" Parks Director Sue Fitzpatrick asked rhetorically. "They should go back where they belong, in a fishing harbor."

There have also been rumors of a mountain lion. But Fitzpatrick discounted that entirely. Possibly it was a really fat cat, she joked.

Recreation aide Melinda Griffith took a picture of the raccoons and a pelican which didn't look shy at all. The bird was pictured with people sitting at a picnic table in the background. Recreation supervisor Kerrie Webb also snapped a photo of the raccoon.

Pelicans are large water birds that frequent both inland and coastal waters, sources indicate, and feed on fish and crustaceans. They are characterized by a long beak and large throat pouch which they use to catch and drain the water from their prey. They are gregarious, breed in colonies and often cooperate in fishing.

Friends of Jacob Myers Park director Scott McRitchie observed the riverbank vegetation stretches miles beyond the park's boundaries north to Oakdale and south to McHenry Recreation Area and all kinds of wildlife could live in there unseen and only occasionally be spotted in the parks.

Pelicans have inhabited the earth a long time. Fossil evidence of them dates back at least 30 million years.