Some of the most well-known birds of the Slave River are the majestic American White Pelicans. The colony nest, feed, and live on turbulent, whitewater rapids near Fort Smith. It is unique habitat for this species. All other white pelican colonies nest and feed on calm-water lakes and ponds.
Each year around April 20, the white pelicans return from their southern wintering grounds to Fort Smith with soaring grace and beauty. They raise a new generation of pelicans in a manner like no other white pelican colony in the world.
The Slave River white pelicans are a memorable wildlife experience. One of the best places to view the pelicans is at the Rapids of the Drowned right next to town. The pelicans can also be seen on the Mountain Portage rapids just outside of town.