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Cormorants

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Cormorants
I sent these to Al and I was interested in knowing the reason we are not trying to reduce these birds. I've heard a "treaty with Japan" but Have no idea if that has any merit. As you can see, they have destroyed what used to be a peninsula that protected the marsh from erosion. Soon it will all be gone. Islands in Lake Erie have been destroyed by their feces. Not to mention their pressure on bait fish.
I've heard Canada opened shooting on them? I know the State has had previous layout shoots as my friend participated in one layout shoot.
We would appreciate any light that can be shed on this problem.
Thank you

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Re: Cormorants In reply to
I?m traveling at the moment so I?ll provide a quick response and a link.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (treaties between US, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia) prohibits killing over 1000 species of migratory birds without the permission of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The FWS has been working with the states to manage cormorant populations. A few years ago FWS was sued because a few states got outside of the permitted methods of killing them. The Court eliminated the whole control program for both protecting aquaculture and ecosystems. FWS and states have been working for the last 5 years to build back the management program. See the information in the link. https://www.fws.gov/regulations/cormorant. The one thing that I would say is that hunters should NOT be drafted to shoot cormorants. It will be a black eye for hunters because sport hunting is different from population control and hunters are not going to eat the cormorants.

Sorry I don?t have more time to provide more details.

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Brad Bortner: Sep 19, 2022, 6:43 PM
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
I sure hope that in this area that you hunt, Robin, that some means to correct the problem can be ironed out. I had no idea of the damage that they could do to trees.
Al
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Brad, thank you and I will check out the website. Exactly what I was looking for.👍
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
It?s due to large flocks roosting in one place for a long period of time. All the cormorant poops kills the trees.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Carl wrote:
It?s due to large flocks roosting in one place for a long period of time. All the cormorant poops kills the trees.


I wonder if the problem is not too many cormorants, but too few suitable roosting trees adjacent to good feeding areas? Or maybe both together?

Decades ago, concern over cormorant predation on Atlantic salmon smolts (juveniles) heading to sea led to a program where a Maine state agency would provide free shotgun shells to people who'd promise to shoot "shags" (the local term for cormorants). That was before I moved back to Maine in 1994, by which time that program was over, but the stories I have heard make me take Brad's advice to heart. Having hunters shoot cormorants incidental to their duck hunting is likely to give hunters and hunting a bad name.

Interestingly, some research at UMaine on the cormorant/smolt predation dynamics found that a major factor driving smolt predation was human infrastructure. A large amount of the total smolt predation was occurring just above and just below hydropower dams. The dams slowed down migration as smolts approached the dam and stunned or confused smolts as they passed the dam, increasing the susceptibility of smolts below the dam. At the same time, powerlines that crossed the river to and from the dams provided ideal roost sites for cormorants right on top of the sites where smolts were most vulnerable.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Yep, they have killed islands in the Mississippi River in my area as well. I believe it's the Corp of Engineers has been building replacement islands for years now due to the island erosion caused by Cormorant feces. Millions of dollars spent. The last I remember reading about was 12M.

Take care,

Ed L.
East Moline,
Illinois
_________________________________________
If I'd had asked what they wanted they would have said faster horses" - Henry Ford

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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Whether too few trees or too many cormorants, it seems to be a problem adversely affecting the environment. Correct or not, to me it seems similar to the Asian carp issue. Wish our politicians would spend the money they are wasting attacking each other on real problems.
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
rfberan wrote:
Whether too few trees or too many cormorants, it seems to be a problem adversely affecting the environment. Correct or not, to me it seems similar to the Asian carp issue. Wish our politicians would spend the money they are wasting attacking each other on real problems.


The difference is that cormorants are a native species whose numbers have increased, while Asian carp are a non-native invasive species. Still may need to be managed. Oiling eggs and/or modifying nesting/roosting sites would probably be effective to do that, and not have the risks Brad raised about getting hunters involved in cormorant culling. Found a lot of information here last night--but no silver bullet.

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/...Technical-Series.pdf

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Great info, thanks again.
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Who says no one would eat them? I thought the norweigans ate them. Hell, sea ducks are tough eating, but I still do it. I'd eat one if there was a season, if only once, just to try!

I could even turn them into chorizo and feed them to Mike Asid and Ken Morris as test subjects

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Nick Zito: Sep 20, 2022, 6:39 PM
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
I believe they were, as most pests, introduced. See also mute swans!
george@runamuckdecoys.com
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Birds excrete protein waste products as uric acid instead of urea like mammals. That?s the white wash you?ve probably seen. It is common that trees under cormorant and vulture roosts to be killed by the droppings.

Double-crested cormorants are a native species. What is interesting is they appear to have been even more common 1 to 2 centuries ago.
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Brad Bortner wrote:
Birds excrete protein waste products as uric acid instead of urea like mammals. That?s the white wash you?ve probably seen. It is common that trees under cormorant and vulture roosts to be killed by the droppings.

Double-crested cormorants are a native species. What is interesting is they appear to have been even more common 1 to 2 centuries ago.


Brad--I know they are native on both coasts and I think throughout the the lower 48 and Alaska.

I'm wondering whether we've seen abundance increases in places like the Great Lakes or Upper Mississippi associated with invasive fish. The concentrations below dams, where fish are also concentrated, are really obvious here in Maine.


]=

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
I read some accounts from 150 years ago that reported flocks that darkened the skies. I wasn?t there so no idea if that was common or a artifact of time and location.

I have no doubt that they have learned that smolts or fish are easy pickings at dams after being concentrated or injured going through the turbines or over the dam. They are certainly at levels that are problematic in some areas. As you pointed out, how much of a problem varies with other factors in that watershed or ecosystem.
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Brad Bortner wrote:
I read some accounts from 150 years ago that reported flocks that darkened the skies. I wasn?t there so no idea if that was common or a artifact of time and location.

I have no doubt that they have learned that smolts or fish are easy pickings at dams after being concentrated or injured going through the turbines or over the dam. They are certainly at levels that are problematic in some areas. As you pointed out, how much of a problem varies with other factors in that watershed or ecosystem.


Thanks. Another observation from here--where cormorants have always been plentiful, at least in my 40 years fishing and boating and hunting Maine waters we've seen the cormorants on the inland portions of river really explode with restoration of sea-run fish, especially alewife and blueback herring, which are clearly a preferred food for them. I don't think cormorant numbers have changed much overall, but as the river herring have come back, the cormorants are following them up and down the rivers to places we did not used to see large concentrations. In the spring and fall, finding where the cormorants are concentrated is an excellent strategy for finding migrating striped bass on the same bait.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
In the area of western PA where I lived for 60 1/2 years, Cormorants, Bald Eagles, and Osprey all became abundant where they had not been in anyone's recollection. Gizzard Shad are a mainstay, and many Great Blue Herons remain in the area all year long because of a steady food source.

With the loss of so much habitat, etc. it seems that the birds had to gravitate to where the food is, or perish. The population just seems to have increased when in fact it just might be reverting to what it had been in the past. Now they and humans are at odds with each other over the places fished.

I do know that where the Cormorants are working, the fishing for Crappie and Striper/White Bass hybrids can be good. When ya fish ya just watch for the birds they tell the story.

Bald Eagles and Osprey are just now becoming more common in my area of western NY, along with Cormorants. So I get to see it happen twice in my lifetime.


my 2 cents











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Nick Zito wrote:
Who says no one would eat them? I thought the norweigans ate them. Hell, sea ducks are tough eating, but I still do it. I'd eat one if there was a season, if only once, just to try!

I could even turn them into chorizo and feed them to Mike Asid and Ken Morris as test subjects


I never did like you;)
Hunt and fish, fish and hunt,
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Nick Zito wrote:
Who says no one would eat them? I thought the norweigans ate them. Hell, sea ducks are tough eating, but I still do it. I'd eat one if there was a season, if only once, just to try!

I could even turn them into chorizo and feed them to Mike Asid and Ken Morris as test subjects


Maybe one of your hot peppers will cover the taste, or make us worry more about our burning mouths.

I'm observing more than usual this year, but my observation is far from scientific.





Oxford, CT
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
I've never eaten one but have banded them and necropsied them They have lots of external parasites (feather lice) and are full of fishy smelling fat. I've always said that the penalty for illegally killing them should include mandatory cleaning and slow baking the whole carcass in your home oven and then consuming them. I suspect that the violator's spouse would exact suitable punishment once the smell of slowly rendered fishy fat starting driving people from the kitchen.Unsure
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Mmmm, slow roasted Cormorant, sounds like it?d be delicious. (I just threw up a little bit into the back of my mouth) Laugh
Hunt and fish, fish and hunt,
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Brad Bortner wrote:
I've never eaten one but have banded them and necropsied them They have lots of external parasites (feather lice) and are full of fishy smelling fat. I've always said that the penalty for illegally killing them should include mandatory cleaning and slow baking the whole carcass in your home oven and then consuming them. I suspect that the violator's spouse would exact suitable punishment once the smell of slowly rendered fishy fat starting driving people from the kitchen.Unsure



Brad,

Many years ago my cousin Anthony and I were duck hunting the upper section of the Shenango River during the late season, the only open water.

We shot some nice fat Mallard drakes, and when we retrieved them Gizzard Shad came out of their bills. Anthony and I looked at each other and said "Thatz not good."

Anthony tried to slow roast them in the oven (we did not breast birds), like you wrote in your post. The stench went through the entire house. That was a lesson that we never forgot.











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Brad Bortner wrote:
I read some accounts from 150 years ago that reported flocks that darkened the skies. I wasn?t there so no idea if that was common or a artifact of time and location.


Ask Pete McMiller... He was around back then! or Dave McCann w00t

---------------------------------------------------------------------
***Phil (Chesapeake Boy) Nowack***


Nothing like the north wind pushing snow at your back, a bird in your hand, and chessie with ice on his coat at your side.

Birds brought to you courtesy of Nikon, Benelli, Kodi, and Otter
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Ontario made cormorant hunting legal in 2020.

Double-crested cormorant seasonWildlife management unitResident and non-resident - open seasonLimits1?50, 53?95September 15 to December 31Daily limit of 15 and no possession limitHere is a episode of Ontario Angler and Hunter Television from last year on hunting them

https://youtu.be/Yd6NDo8xX4o
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Re: Cormorants In reply to
Excellent! Thank you.