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Dead pelican reveals live walleye

Floating pelican.jpg
A 25-inch walleye, still alive when found by conservation officers, was stuck in the throat of a pelican found floating on the Tamarack River. The pelican apparently choked on the big fish and died. Photo courtesy of Demosthenes Regas/ Minnesota DNR)

Minnesota Conservation Officer Demosthenes Regas, who patrols the woods and waters near Blackduck, was checking the Tamarack River recently for fishing activity with fellow officer Nick Prachar when they saw what appeared to be a dead pelican floating in the river.

Upon closer inspection they found the pelican was indeed dead, apparently from biting off a little more than it could chew. The officers found a 25-inch walleye stuck in the pelican’s throat. Amazingly, the walleye was still alive.

A photo taken by Regas shows the walleye filled part of the bird's throat and its entire giant mouth, and stuck out several inches beyond that. The officers were able to release the walleye to continue its spawning run up the Tamarack River, which runs into Upper Red Lake.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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