Saturday, 11 May 2013

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Bronte Harbour, Oakville, ON
11 May 2013

    Today there was a spectacular movement of Double-crested Cormorants at Bronte Harbour. The stream of birds flying by lasted for several minutes and comprised at least 1,250 birds, and I am sure that our count is conservative. All the birds settled in an area just outside the breakwater at the west end of the harbour until a couple of people in a small motor boat aimed their craft directly into the birds, causing them to move farther out into the lake. What satisfaction these yahoos derived from their action I cannot imagine.
    In Ontario we are engaged once again this year in a dreadful and shameful cull of this species. I have never seen any sane rationale for this annual slaughter, yet it continues under sanction from the Ministry of the Environment. Obviously, all birds are not killed outright, and wounded birds are left to die a lingering, painful, miserable death.
    I am sure that some people claim that there are too many cormorants, although who determines what is too many I have no idea. Perhaps we should look at ourselves before we pass judgement on other species. In any event the population of all species is ultimately self-regulating in its own way and needs no interference from us.
    Apart from anything else, I view the increased numbers of Double-crested Cormorants on the Great Lakes as a very positive indicator that the health of the lakes is improving. I think it's time we all boycotted locations such as Point Pelee National Park and Presqu-ile Provincial Park where this carnage takes place. Perhaps the economic hit taken by the communities that benefit from the money birders spend will be enough to stop the annual kill.

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