Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cormorants in Muskoka waters

Cormorants apparently are an ancient bird, perhaps existing as long ago as the dinosaurs according to Wikipedia. They have largely been a coastal bird, often thought of as a seabird and live on fish primarily. There are as many as 40 different kinds of cormorant.

In Ontario they began moving inland along the rivers quite a few years ago. Since they are a "clannish" bird - they gather together to nest or rest. They also perch in trees as you can see from the somewhat indistinct black spots in the tops of the trees on this small island in one of Ontario's Muskoka lakes.

The sad thing about that is the acummulation of guano they produce is very toxic to vegetation and after a while the trees they perch in die, as you can see in this picture. This makes it difficult for other creatures and most certainly decimates landscapes.

Personally I'm not sure how I feel about cormorants yet. I don't like the fact that there presence kills vegetation and makes it impossible for other birds who might nest on the ground in some areas where cormorants are located - such as ducks, loons and shorebirds. But on the other hand they are natural creatures, found around the world, though mostly in modern history along seacoasts. And I do love nature in all its glory and not so glorious.

So today I'm pondering.

And I'm off to the local Fall Fair in a very short while. There I will see things that will take my mind off cormorants. Things such as nature's bounty in the form of grains, hay, corn and vegetables on display. Flowers and home baking, crafts, antiques, children's displays of art and other items they put together for The Fair. There will be sheep - some to ride, some to pull and some just to pet. A horse show - you can bet I'll check that out. And lots of people, my neighbours, my friends in the surrounding towns and villages.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll have some photos for the blog to show.

But while I get organized, I'll still think about ducks and cormorants and nature's balance and humankind's as well. Something to seriously ponder on this 9-11 weekend.

Enjoy your day.


  1. About a year or two ago we started seeing cormorants around the inland ponds in this area. Not in large numbers like you expect near the Great Lakes but still a concern. Hopefully some predator will take a liking to them and strike the necessary balance of nature.

    When I was young I tried eating cormorant and it was the single worse flesh I have ever eaten. Would not recommend serving it to guests!

  2. Thanks for the chuckle Bill - they look pretty stringy to me and are quite unappealing so I doubt I'd try that. I'm with you about the balance of nature, but there have been culls in certain parts of the Great Lakes because of the hazard they represent to several birds who are species at risk.

  3. An interesting environmental ethics conundrum.