Friday, August 13, 2010

Double-crested Comorant

When a friend of mine gave me tour of the Mississippi River (Near Palisades State Park) on his boat last weekend, the number of Double-crested Comorants that I saw on "Bird Island" was astounding. On Tuesday, 8-10, I posted a picture of some trees on "Bird Island" with it seems like hundreds of Comorants nesting. We couldn't get close enough to the island to get a good close-up of the Comorants, but below is a photo of a Comorant that I accidently flushed out of the reeds while hiking around a section of Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Wisconsin.

Double-crested Comorant in flight at Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (5-29-10)

On the far right of the photo (Above, 8-7-10, Mississippi River), a Double-crested Comorant has its wings spread to dry.

In the photo (Above, 8-7-10) you can see a few Comorants with this flock of American White Pelicans on a sandbar in the Mississippi River. Comorants will grow to almost 3 feet tall with a 5' wingspan and you can see how small they are in comparison to the Pelicans. This species of Comorant is the only type that you will find inland away from the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf coasts.
The Double-crested Cormorant swims low in the water, often with just its neck and head visible, and dives for its food from the surface. It uses its feet for propulsion and is able to dive to a depth of 2 -10 feet for up to 30–70 seconds. When it resurfaces, it spends long periods standing with its wings outstretched (Above, 8-7-10) to allow them to dry, since they are not fully waterproofed. This species flies low over the water, with its bill tilted slightly upward, sometimes leaving the colony in long, single-file lines (Below, 8-7-10, Mississippi River). 

Double-crested Comorants flying in single-file (8-7-10, Mississippi River)

1 comment:

Chesney said...

I love your top pic of the comorant in flight...what a fabulous capture, you must have been quick!