Thursday, March 18, 2010
I walk almost every day at Howarth Park, a city park at the edge of Santa Rosa, California. I escape the more heavily populated trails as soon as I can and walk on trails where there are less humans and more nature, but at the end of every walk I have to take the main paved trail for a few hundred feet to get back to my car in the parking lot. That trail runs along the edge of Lake Ralphine and is usually so full of people, dogs, park vehicles and such, that I try to move along as quickly as I can.
I've certainly noticed the double-crested cormorants that roost in a tree over the water but, until today, I was too anxious to avoid the crowds to really pay attention to them. Since I've been learning to sketch birds I thought the cormorants would be good beginner's birds, since they tend to perch on a branch and just hang
strange guttural sounds and looked up to see that a lovely white-crested cormorant had landed precariously next to one of the black-crested birds in the tree. The black-crested bird was making the sounds I'd heard. The two birds began to move about in a
Double-crested cormorants had all but disappeared until the 1970's when DDT and PCB's were banned from use. Now the birds are so numerous that many humans who fish consider them pests.
Here are some interesting articles for further reading about these fascinating birds:
The Cormorant: The Devil Undisguised?; Dr. Tom Kazo, Ph.D. and Donna McVicar Cannon Kazo.
Double-crested Cormorant; Wikipedia.
Great Lakes Fact Sheet; The Rise of the Double-crested Cormorant on the Great Lakes: Winning the War Against Contaminants.