Another september visitor to rrb: the double-crested cormorant......
The call came in the morning. A message was left: someone had reported seeing an injured duck at the Holiday Station Store on the corner of 2 and hwy 61; it was from the Sheriff's Dept.
When we called the Holiday, Mr. S. searched the parking lot but the creature was gone. However, he was able to impart this valuable information: "It's not a duck now, no, no, no, it's not a duck now, it's a cormorant you're looking for now!" (Go ahead, sing to the tune of "It Ain't Me Babe")
At this point in time, there wasn't much more we could do--- not knowing where the cormorant was located. Perhaps he would be spotted again, and someone would call.
No sooner said than done. Monsieur C. of the DNR, witnessed the bird's narrow escape beneath the wheels of a moving vehicle. Ms. M. secured the bird within a cardboard box, and we were free to drive down and pick the bird up.
I expected to see a broken wing, a common injury this time of year during migration. But the injury was to his beak. It was cracked, the result of a collision that also caused him some disorientation.
The beak's vertical rift was repaired, and the cormorant was fortified by dining on many, many minnows!
In conclusion: release day came, the cormorant returned home to beautiful Lake Superior, where he was joined by other waterfowl buoyantly riding the waves......
Cormorants are successful birds, and like crows, gulls, raccoons, and coyotes, have often received a bad rap. Because they are fisheaters, cormorants are considered rivals by the fishing industry and as such, have had to endure the destruction of their fertile eggs at the hands of humankind as part of the battle. Add to that loss, the scurge of the pesticide DDT, and being gunned down in their rookeries, there have been times in the cormorant's history, when they were all but annihilated!
Cormorants often look slick or wet. That is because their outer feathers are not water resistant. But they do have a protective layer beneath, that keeps them comfortably warm.
By expelling air from their bodies, cormorants can dive up to 75 feet. Alternatively, they can sink below the water surface and are often seen with just their head and neck exposed.
Cormorants may not be the prettiest of birds, but I think they're pretty interesting. Let's remember it's always a serious matter when a sentient being is hurt or in need of help, whether it's you, me, or a cormorant in the middle of the road.
Thank you to everyone who helped in the rescue of this bird, especially the mystery caller who had the compassion to report it in the first place.
If you enjoyed this tale, show your support. Your pocket change could help us rescue the next visitor. Be a part of the story!