Thursday, August 9, 2018

Double-crested Cormorant

I keep my birding records on eBird. This digital app keeps track of when and where I see birds. Every month. eBird puts forth a challenge, the winner to receive a pair of binoculars. Your chances of winning an eBird challenge are worse than picking a minimal Powerball number. That doesn’t matter too much, since I have no interest in the eBird prize. Photos are deposited in Cornell University’s Macaulay Library—they currently have 7.5 million photos submitted through eBird. Curiously, their most photographed bird is Red-tailed Hawk, with over 63,000 submissions.

This month’s challenge is to submit 50 bird photographs (or other media formats). Photographs are easily submittable, and can verify many of your less common bird sightings. The challenge has me running around the county taking pictures of common birds. There is nothing noteworthy about a Double-crested Cormorant in Rice County, Minnesota. But the cormorant bathing is of passing interest, and well described in the literature. When bathing, “the body rolls back and forth in a rocking-horse motion, while the wings splash loudly on the water, throwing a spray onto the back of the bird” (Dorr et al. 2014).

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