Many years ago, I knew nothing about double-crested cormorants, until I saw one when we vacationed at Kentucky Lake. And then a few years ago, I saw one closer to home in a nearby lake. Now I see two or three a day, sometimes five in the lake behind our mobile home! I’m not sure if I saw them before without knowing what they were, or if there actually are more of these birds coming here now.
The cormorants are usually very quiet; only once did I hear a sound that might have been a cormorant, and I wasn’t sure. One morning when I went out with our dog, one happened to be in the water beside a patch of pond lily leaves just beyond our back yard. It flew up suddenly, and then one more flew up from the center of the lake, and then another followed. No sound, and I was unaware of any of them until they flew.
I know these birds dive into the water, and I’ve counted twenty seconds many times before seeing one pop up a long ways from where he went in. Sometimes they seem to be swimming low in the water, with only the neck and head showing.
I LOVE to Watch the Cormorants!
For three days, when my husband and I were sitting in the back yard, I saw one cormorant standing on a small log across the lake. We sat there for an hour or more, and that bird stood in the same place the whole time. On one of those days, the cormorant was flapping his wings and holding them open for much of the time. I took photos and watched him, and then I noticed two others swimming in the lake, while he stayed on his log.
The next day, I saw two cormorants standing on the log. And the next morning I saw two on that same log, and two others on a nearby log. And then a fifth cormorant flew in and landed on the lake, and later joined the first two. Five cormorants in our lake at one time!
After seeing mostly great blue herons and white egrets, and maybe a green heron or a black crowned night heron, the cormorants are an interesting new enjoyment. I remember seeing birds flying over the lake, wondering what they were; now I can easily recognize the cormorants.
Wikipedia’s Information on Cormorants
According to Wikipedia, “The double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. Its habitat is near rivers and lakes as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico.
Measuring 28–35 inches in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Five subspecies are recognized.
It mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof and it must spend time drying them out after spending time in the water. Once threatened by the use of DDT, the numbers of this bird have increased markedly in recent years.”
After reading the Wikipedia information, I realized why the cormorant was flapping his wings and holding them out to dry. I thought all feathers were waterproof. Did God make the cormorant’s wings different to help them more easily dive into the water? It sure makes for interesting watching!
The American Eagle
ADDED NOTE: The day I was taking photos of the five cormorants, suddenly another bird entered the scene…an eagle! I’m glad I had my camera ready…and I’ll share that experience next time!