|A gulp of Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)|
I'm talking today about Cormorants. Here's a few things I found out:
- The UK is home to a population of around 9,000 breeding pairs. They have a Green status.
- This number increases in the winter to around 41,000 birds. an internationally important number of these birds.
- In the UK they mainly breed at coastal locations but some inland breeding locations where they nest in trees have been found.
- Their diet is mainly fish and they are very good at swimming and catching them. So good that they have been seen as a threat to anglers and have sometimes been controlled because of this.
- Cormorants are often seen drying their feathers after swimming for food. It's a myth that their feathers aren't waterproof but they are less water resistant than a lot of birds to help them forage underwater. They do though need a lot of time out of the water to dry off.
- Cormorants are sometimes described as a prehistoric looking bird and that's because they are part of one of the oldest family of birds that had similar ancestors in the time of the dinosaurs.
- Out of the water they have awkward proportions and aren't very agile but they are strong flyers when they get going
- They are 90cm long with a wingspan of 145cm. They weigh between 2-2.5kg
- There is a lot of folklore linked to cormorants. In Norway three seen flying together are thought to be carrying a message from the dead. Norwegian folklore also says that people who die at sea can come back to visit their families in the form of a Cormorant. In Ireland and some other parts of the UK seeing a Cormorant on a Church steeple is a sign of bad luck to come. Oddly they are also seen as a sign of a good catch by fishermen.
- Cormorants are quite shy of humans but can be domesticated. In China and Japan Cormorants are used by fishermen. They put a string around their necks to stop them swallowing the fish so they are sent off to hunt and they bring the fish back to the fishermen.
- A group of Cormorants can be called a flight, a paddling, a rookery or a swim, but my favourite is a gulp of Cormorants :-)
Well I found out quite a lot, they are very interesting birds. If you want to find out more try these links:
Hope you enjoyed,