The Double-crested Cormorant, a long-lived water bird, inhabits coasts, bays, lakes and rivers across the entire United States. This very adaptable long-bodied diving bird is found in almost any aquatic habitat and even nests in trees near or over the water, on sea cliffs, or on ground on islands. Never being too far from the water, the Cormorant is a popular sight on Sanibel and Captiva, often seen in colonies with their slender necks outstretched and their wings half-spread to dry. The Double-crested Cormorant as well as other Cormorant species do have glands that provide waterproofing of their feathers but all too often these are insufficient so they must allow their wet feathers to dry before taking flight.

The Cormorant forages by diving from the surface and swimming underwater, propelled primarily by it's feet. They often forage in groups in varying water clarity and typically don'd dive too deep when feeding. They are excellent fishers. In several cultures that harnessed the Cormorant's great ability to benefit man, a loop was tied around the Cormorants' throat that allowed them to only swallow small fish which left the bigger fish trapped in the bills of the bird. Retrieving the bird provided the big fish to the fisher.

The Cormorant name is derived by a contraction of the Latin words Corvus and Marinus, which together mean " Sea Raven". Certainly living up to it's name, the Cormorant has gained a bad reputation with fisheries throughout the country, causing many fisheries to work hard to deter the Cormorants from grabbing a meal at these commercial sites. Populations of Cormorants are ever growing, so much so that some colonies of these birds have been culled due to the crowding of other colonial species of birds.

The Double-crested Cormorant has brilliant blue eyes and with the use of a good scope and telephoto lens you can really appreciate this relatively plain bird with such startling blue eyes. I hope you get to see this popular island bird that has the pleasure of spending it's day fishing in the great waters all around the islands and our local lakes and rivers.