10 Nov 2011

Emerald eyed Crow-duck

Double Crested Cormorant

Crow-duck is the name given to the Double Crested Cormorant by early settlers of North America.  I found it fascinating when I discovered, from a close up photo on line, that he has emerald colored eyes.  How sweet is that?  I encountered this bird twice several years ago in spring, but never got a close enough view to take note of that particular physical feature.
When I first saw the Cormorant land in a local pond, he appeared suddenly out of nowhere and dove right into the water like a torpedo.  He covered more than three quarters of the length of the pond before he re-emerged head first, in an up periscope kind of way.  The first thing that I noticed about this handsome bird, is that he was not comfortable within the small pond.  He also did not enjoy my presence, as he shied away every time I moved the slightest bit.  Or perhaps it is just humans in general, because when a jogger moved by the pond at speed, he'd had enough and took flight immediately.

Double Crested Cormorant drying his wings

My next encounter with this species took place at yet another pond, when I had my brother along but, unfortunately, not my camera.  The next couple of photos belong to my brother, who gave permission to use them for this post.

Double Crested Cormorant and Blue Heron
It took me a while to identify the species, as I had never seen a Cormorant before and at that time, had no idea really where to look to learn more about it.  When I finally identified him, it was quite by accident, as I was researching a different species of bird.   It was the very beginning of my bird watching adventures, when I'd just decided that birds, other than raptors, had their own delightful appeals, and that I really enjoyed discovering them.  At the same time, I realized it is rare to catch sight of a Double Crested Cormorant on it's own in the spring.  Since they migrate in large numbers, in a manner quite similar to Geese, and nest in colonies, usually near rivers, lakes or other large bodies of water, including the ocean.

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