In the last ten or so years, we've been seeing more and more members of the animal kingdom in and around the Owensboro area than we ever had before. And I'm not just talking about creatures we've long known are NOT indigenous to our neck of the woods.

UNUSUAL KENTUCKY ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS

We had numerous occurrences during the spring and summer of black bears appearing in parts of western Kentucky and southwestern Indiana. There have been recent reports of ARMADILLOS in the area. There was a time when you didn't see them east of the Mississippi River, let alone around here.

And then, of course, there are the more frequent sightings of bobcats, coyotes, and foxes. This is their home turf; we just didn't use to see them with the kind of frequency we do now.

If you need toward southwestern Kentucky, down around Land Between the Lakes, you can catch sight of ANOTHER species I didn't realize paid visits to the Commonwealth. I'm talking about pelicans.

PELICANS AND SEAGULLS--BIRDS MUST LOVE KENTUCKY

This is so fascinating to me because I had no idea Kentucky EVER saw any pelicans. I figured Louisiana had the market cornered on them. But then again, I never expected to see the number of seagulls we had all over Owensboro about a decade ago during a spring that featured frequent and frequently unstable storm systems move through. Someone with more knowledge of the situation than I explained that the crazy weather had knocked them off their migratory track.

Maybe that same person (I don't remember who it was) would have some answers about the pelicans--and not just ANY pelicans. These are white pelicans and are among the largest birds in North America.

So how long has this been happening?

THE KENTUCKY PELICAN TIMELINE

I ran across a video from KYAfield on YouTube that shows a huge flock flying around and resting on the water. It's from 2012.

And then I found a chat forum for hunters that indicates these large pelicans have been visiting LBL for at least 15 years. And yet this is the first I've heard of it. I would love to square away some time and head down there and check this out.

Hopefully, all the Kentucky birdwatchers will make room for a rank amateur.

Select Wildlife You Could Encounter in Kentucky

With all the bear stories--and occasional bobcat stories--that are popping up, maybe it's time we take a look at some of the wildlife you could encounter within these Kentucky borders. Some are harmless and some you want NO part of, in my opinion.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.