In reading a recent story by our esteemed writer, Mr. Redgannet, I was brought to mind some recent photos of a Double-crested Cormorant, which had also made a ridiculous attempt at over eating. Here in the Sea of Cortez, we have a fairly decent population of a family of a fish called Tetratdontidae, or more commonly known as Pufferfish. I am sure most of you are fully aware of these real life, self inflating balloons. When ever they feel threatened, they inflate like a ball, filling their stomachs with water, or air. This not only makes them much larger, but in nearly all of the species, allows the sharp barbs, that lay flat along the body, to now stick straight out. Talk about a great defense.

With this remarkable defense, there are very few predators, bird or fish, that bother with them. This Double-crested Cormorant, took exception to the rule, and decided that this small Guineafowl Puffer looked tasty. In many circumstances, this can be a fatal mistake. If the offending party should actually get the puffer eaten, or partially swallowed, before it can inflate itself, then they are stuck with this poisonous fish, all blown up, in their stomach, or throat. With the barbs that are now protruding, regurgitation is not an option either.

In this case, the cormorant was stuck with the fish in its mouth for a while, but managed to shake it free, went away none the worse for wear, still hungry, able to try for something a little less dangerous to consume.




Written by Tom Brown
Tom Brown grew up in the high desert area of central Oregon. His love for birds and photography started at a young age. Thru the course of time, travel, and a lot of different occupations, he ended up living in Seattle, and met a girl with a sailboat. When he is not scouring whatever area they are in, looking for the next great bird photo, he can be found trying to earn enough money for the next adventure, and of course, a new lens or camera body! Having been nick-named “The Bird Nerd” by his last remaining friends and family, Tom continues search for that next lifer, and the accompanying photo that goes with it. Find his continuing adventures, photographs, and guiding opportunities at Focus on Feathers.