put on your faces – double-crested cormorant

Close-up of a juvenile double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) (2010_01_24_049003)

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus); juvenile

11 thoughts on “put on your faces – double-crested cormorant”

    1. What a neat coincidence, Swampy. Though I knew they had blue eyes, every photo I’ve ever taken–including other photos of this individual taken during this same encounter–show a darker shade of blue (sometimes very dark and sometimes just a wee bit darker than this). I think in this case all the angles came together just right to really bring out that crystal clarity.

  1. Beautiful eyes.

    I don’t see them often, if ever here, but saw them in the UP and think they’re handsome birds. I’m sad that they’ve acquired “pest” status due to our manipulation of the landscape.

    1. I’m right there with you, Jain: like coots, I think cormorants have a singular look that might not appeal to all but that certainly strikes me as handsome.

      I recently read a disastrous piece of writing by a fishing organization in England where people can get licenses to kill cormorants when the birds “compete” with fishermen or with fish hatcheries/fishing clubs. The writer called them “hideous creatures” and painted a picture of some bizarre conspiracy where killing them was just and right while those who opposed were part of some underhanded mission to outlaw fishing. I won’t link to the garbage, but it did ring true the moment you mentioned their “pest” status. Like all living things, they can be opportunistic, and certainly they’ll take advantage of situations we create–especially when we keep making it harder for them to live in their natural habitats.

    1. Isn’t it, Laura? I thought the same thing when I first looked at this photo. It’s the only one from this session that grabbed that much light reflecting in the eye. I’ve always thought their blue eyes were gorgeous, but this revealed a whole different level of magic.

  2. Jason, I’ve seen this bright blue through my lens often enough, but always when zooming in on a photo taken at a great distance. I don’t shy away from bright, sunny days, like many photographers do – so maybe that is why I’m not surprised at this gorgeous coloring. While I may not be surprised, I am SUPER impressed at the lovely composition and clarity.

    The cormorant reminds me of another bird, the Northern Shoveler, who has such bright eyes that they almost glow. So far, “glowing” eyes are all that I have captured in both species…but I always look forward to another chance! 🙂

    1. I hadn’t thought of that, Amber. I’ve probably captured this brightness in the eyes before but didn’t notice it because the subject was some distance away (and I certainly have plenty of cormorant photos taken from great distance!). And thank you! I’m glad you like the image.

  3. Beautiful catch..I too thought of the article I read where they are killing them in the mistaken belief that they are competing with fisherman. It turns out that they don’t take the fish that are being fished for, but are being killed anyway. Ain’t life grand sometimes..which I why I am getting to be more of a loner as I get older…I will be the woman with a million cats.. OK, I already have two cats…One has extra toes which allows him to open cupboards and drawers. His name is ‘Damn it Ollie”.. really it’s Oliver and his brother’s name is “Oh crap Elliott”, Elliott for short….

  4. Just google ‘killing cormorants’…..

    “Under the new rules, individuals and states are permitted to kill a total of 160,000 cormorants each year. An average of about 40,000 cormorants are reported killed each year—perhaps 2 percent of North America’s population. That figure does not include tens of thousands of eggs oiled annually”

  5. Thank you, Michelle! I’m pleased with the way this photo turned out, so I’m glad others have liked it as well.

    Yes, that whole shooting cormorants thing surprises me. I’d never heard of it before I read that piece from the fishing organization about shooting a single bird at a specific location because it obviously presented more competition than the fishermen could handle. The whole thing turns my stomach.

    And I laughed uproariously at the cat names! Too funny.

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