We continue to have periodic visits from these majestic birds throughout the year, and can often see them perched on our dock with their wings outstretched. Most studies suggest that Cormorants spread their wings simply to dry them, although some breeds do flap their wings as a courtship display.
Cormorants are adept divers and take most of their prey during underwater pursuit, propelling themselves with large webbed feet. This Double-Crested Cormorant feeds mostly on schools of fish in open water, while Pelagics will dive much deeper, pursuing small fish at depths of up to 150 feet.
Cormorants nest in colonies, typically producing 3 or 4 eggs with a relatively good survival rate among hatchlings. The chicks leave the nests, forming small groups called creches. They continue to form larger groups, until, at the age of about one month they belong to very large creches. The dutiful parents still come to feed their offspring in these super-creches.
The Cormorant population is relatively stable now, after suffering a serious decline in the middle of the last century from DDT and other toxins. Recently, however, some jurisdictions have legislated a culling of the population, based on pressure from fishermen and fish farmers who see Cormorants as competitors and marauders. In most cases, these claims have proven false as the birds often take fish of no commercial value.
Fortunately, we have neither of these industries near where we live, and we can continue to enjoy these beautiful birds. As always, remember to bring your camera when you come to stay at Coracle Cove.
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