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Little known facts about one of nature's feathery fishermen
| STORY BY LAURA KIRAN |
Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve is home to some of Illinois’ most interesting bird species. Among them is the double-crested cormorant, named for two small tufts (or crests) of feathers on either side of the adult cormorant’s head, usually seen most vividly during mating season.
These goose-sized, turquoise-eyed beauties are something to behold. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology calls these gangly, snaky necked birds a “pre-historic looking” mix between a goose and loon, having matte black feathers and yellow-orange facial skin.
While they may been seen roosting in tree tops, these aquatic avians are water-loving creatures and expert divers. The cormorants’ webbed feet and sleek bodies make them natural swimmers and skilled opportunists when it comes to fishing.
Photo by Chad Merda
Cool Cormorant Facts
Photo via Wikipedia Commons
In the United States, the double-crested cormorant population was in severe decline in the mid-1900s due to the use of pesticides. When these damaging pesticides were banned in the 1970s, fish-eating birds like the double-crested cormorant made a comeback.
According to Rita Renwick, president of the Will County Audubon Society, double-crested cormorants made their first appearance at Lake Renwick Preserve in 1986 with four nests. In 2016, there were reportedly 657 nests.
See the double-crested cormorant in person by attending one of the Forest Preserve’s upcoming bird viewing programs.
(Lead image via Wikipedia Commons)