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9/27/2021 8:53 am  #1

influx of cormorants

Is it only me or have other people noticed an increase in the cormorant population over the last few years?

Does this have an impact on the loon population? 

I was on a Craig lake last weekend and only saw cormorants, no loons which was different from the past.  This may only be a coincidence but made me wonder.


9/27/2021 10:14 am  #2

Re: influx of cormorants

They are increasing all over the province. I don’t know the reason, or the effect on loons or other birds. Anecdotally I’ve heard their nesting sites are destructive and they tend to eat a lot of fish. I think gull island in the north arm of Ope is now cormorant island but I haven’t been up there to confirm it.


9/27/2021 12:20 pm  #3

Re: influx of cormorants

Cormorant populations are increasing. In some areas this appears to be an expansion of their range while in other areas it still seems to be population recovery. I don't have a reference handy but as fish eating birds, cormorant populations were undoubtedly hurt by DDT the same as raptor populations including Bald Eagles and Osprey  which are other fish eating species. 


9/28/2021 3:00 pm  #4

Re: influx of cormorants

I really enjoy birding, and trying to identify birds, etc., on  my canoeing adventures.  I definitely have some favorites: common loon, crazy merganzers, red wing blackbirds, pileated woodpeckers, any raptors, chickadees and dark-eyed juncos, herons, bitterns, wood ducks, terns, black skimmers, nuthatches, Semipalmated Plovers, and Sanderlings.  But there are birds I could do without.  Three:  European Starlings (invasive SOB's), English Sparrows (invasive, but they are so doggone cute it is kind of hard to dislike them entirely).  (When I was a kid at a vacation spot, we had one that came around the same time every day, wanting to be fed, which my sister and I did.  We named him Elmer, and he'd jump right into your hand.), and cormorants (because they can just take over a lake, can displace other birds, and can be so hard on fish populations.  Plus that profile in flight....blech.  Unattractive bird.   I always think of going over that bridge near Hamilton and seeing approximately.....I'm going to go with 87 kabillion, but I  Might be a little low with that estimates.   


9/29/2021 8:44 am  #5

Re: influx of cormorants

Here's a link to an article from researchers at the University of Minnesota to offer a bit of perspective.  I believe the most substantial impact on reducing Cormorant numbers was human-driven and intentional and their recovery to the levels of today (substantially lower than historic levels) is related primarily to protection measures and a small amount due to reduction of the use of DDT (their most substantial reductions occurred in the late 19th century before DDT existed).

Today's opinions expressed above with a disdain for the bird (of which I previously shared...until reading more and understanding that they should hold a natural position of far greater numbers) is referred to in the article as:
"...perception of overabundance rests on socio-political rather than biological or ecological factors."


9/29/2021 4:12 pm  #6

Re: influx of cormorants

As long as I can still dislike Starlings I'm good.


10/01/2021 7:28 am  #7

Re: influx of cormorants

That's fine...just don't let it drag you down!  I still get that same gut feeling about Cormorants; it's likely the same reaction many had to raptors in centuries past - that they upset the balance and prey upon the species we love so we tend to dislike them.

The story I had heard as a young student is that Starlings were introduced to North America via an Edgar Allen Poe fan who wanted to have all of the birds mentioned in Poe works in a museum/aviary but some escaped...and now we literally have millions upon millions of those.


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