West Coast Cormorants

Sea Life | | March 5, 2010 at 13:20

Hello Ocean Lovers!

Every Other Breath is from the Ocean

contributed by Carol Georgi

Please support the movement to establish the Central Coast Extension of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
for more info go to slosurfrider.org

West Coast Cormorants

3 species, Marine Migratory Birds

Brandt’s Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus
Double-crested Phalacrocorax auritus
Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus

photos by Terry Lilley

West Coast Cormorant

According to Rich Stallcup, Biologist for Point Reyes Bird Observatory, correct identification of the three species of West Coast Cormorants can be difficult. He advises identification while in flight. Based on his drawings and descriptions, we often see the Brandt’s and the Double-crested cormorants nesting near each other in trees near the ocean along our central coast.  Both types of cormorants are colonial, building nests in groups.

Cormorants are beautiful black birds that like geese, will migrate flying silently in large arcs or in wedge-shaped flocks. Both the Pelagic and the Brandt’s cormorants will fly over water; however, the Double-crested with take short cuts, flying over land.

A Cormorant is an amazing marine bird to watch because it dives from the surface of the water and swims
underwater, chasing its prey. It grabs a small fish in its bill, without spearing it.
After diving, cormorants spread their wings to air dry, a beautiful sight.

Cormorants nesting

All three cormorants are found along the Pacific Coast.
The double-crested cormorants are also found in other parts of the U.S.
These cormorants are part of the Pacific nearshore ecosystem.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Management Mission:
To conserve migratory bird populations and their habitats for future generations, through careful monitoring and effective management.

The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act with Canada, Japan, Mexico and Russia for the protection of migratory bird resources states it is unlawful to take any migratory bird, any part, nest or eggs.

The intent of the federal law is to protect sensitive habitat by not allowing habitat removal or destruction.

When guidelines for reproductive nesting dates are given, the purpose is to guide dates for habitat sensitive tree trimming, not removal, leaving the nests intact as they are in continuous and repeated use.

Carol Georgi, Volunteer




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