Flushing Meadows Corona Park, March 2010

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus is a much-maligned and persecuted creature.  Like cormorants and shags the world over they are hated by fishermen who blame them for decimating fish populations.  Their rather unkempt appearance at a distance does not make them a favorite of those who like their birds to be aesthetically pleasing and they look rather goofy when they stand with wings outstretched in the sun to dry.  But, really, when one gets a close look at a Double-crested Cormorant they are quite breathtaking, with perhaps the most beautiful eyes of any bird.  Not only that but with their viciously hooked bill and streamlined, always-half-submerged-when-in-the-water body they are perfectly adapted for their habitat and diet.

The Double-crested Cormorants below were all photographed yesterday morning in Meadow Lake, the more northern of the two lakes in Flushing Meadow Park.  I took advantage of the early morning sunlight and the fact that these cormorants have become relatively adapted to nearby people, as they hang out on a dock next to a parking lot where people park and feed the gulls, ducks, and pigeons.  Most Double-crested Cormorants I have encountered have been much more flighty, most likely due to the fact that, as mentioned above, fishermen hate them and most likely try to do them harm when given the opportunity.

Anyway, I enjoyed taking these pictures and hope you enjoy looking at them.  The first shot was taken with my 60mm macro lens and is included just to give an idea as to how close the cormorants were.  The rest were all taken with that that as well, but it was, of course, attached to the spotting scope at that point…

This post has been submitted to Bird Photography Weekly #82. Go check it out!

This post was originally published on 21 March 2010, but we hate to keep posts this good buried in the archives!

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.