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Double-Crested Cormorants

A new family is on the Fox River. At least this group is new to me.

I was out looking for flowering trees when I spotted double-crested cormorants gathered on driftwood in the middle of the river. I'd never seen these birds before. Another photographer filled me in on some of the basics.

Double-crested cormorants are large waterbirds with long, thin, hooked bills. Adults are dark brown with small patches of yellow-orange on the face.

The birds sport stringy, black or white tufts of feathers during the breeding season. When I watched them fly, I was surprised how they flew with bursts of choppy, flapping, and then would glide for short distances.

Their songs and calls are in deep guttural grunts. They reminded me of how frogs croak.

Cormorants' diet varies with location but may include fish, crabs, shrimp, crayfish, frogs, salamanders, eels, snakes, mollusks, and plants. In other words, they eat just about anything.

The population of  Cormorants has increased and decreased over time. After decades of decline, their numbers began to increase in the 1920s but then declined in the 1950s and then again in the 1960s, likely due to pesticides. After DDT was banned in 1972 populations began increasing again and continue to do so until the present day.

For more information, see the Audubon Society and Cornell Lab All About Birds. Much of the information for this post was gathered from these sites.

*Photos by Mary K. Doyle

**Relax with peaceful photos and poems sparked by findings in public gardens--Tranquility. Transcendence. Transformation. The Enchanting Promises of Public Gardens.

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