Rare pelican wows P.E.I. birders

Bird watchers have spent several days trudging through thick brush and climbing over hills just to get a glimpse of the elusive American white pelican.

American white pelican may have been blown off course by superstorm Sandy

Bird watchers are flocking to East Point to catch a glimpse of the American white pelican. (Dwaine Oakley)

A wayward bird is causing a big stir among bird watchers in eastern Prince Edward Island.

An American white pelican is hanging out near East Point.

"I haven't seen one before," said Kelly Cheverie, who spent Sunday trying to take a photo of the pelican. "This is as close a chance as I'll get to seeing one in my lifetime."

There have been just nine sightings of American white pelicans in P.E.I. in the last 100 years.

"Our first photographic record is 1991," said Dan McAskill of the Natural History Society of P.E.I.

The American white pelican was first spotted on Nov. 8. (Dwaine Oakley)

He said usually, the pelican would be well on its way to the gulf coast. He suspects Hurricane Sandy blew the bird away from a group.

"What would normally happen is strong wind currents will push the bird off-range, and that's what happened here."

McAskill believes it's only a matter of time until the elusive bird gets back on track and heads south.

The American white pelican is generally found in the Prairies in the summer, and the southern United States in the winter.