On a warm, early September 2016 day, a double crested cormorant swims beside the Anna Maria City Pier in Manatee County hoping for a hand out. The double crested cormorant (phalacrocorax auritus) ranges in rivers, lakes and coastlines across the united states from coast to coast, in to northern Mexico, central Canada, along the Pacific coast to Alaska and north along the Canadian Atlantic coast. Because they do not tolerate cold weather well, they migrate with the seasons.
This all black bird measures from 28" to 35" in length with a wingspan between 45" and 48." It has a stocky body, long neck, medium sized tail and webbed feet. There is a bare patch of yellow skin at the base of a medium sized, dark colored, hooked bill. The wings are a darkish gray. They have small heads, long, kinked necks, aquamarine eyes and a mouth that is bright blue on the inside. Juveniles are more dark gray or brownish with lighter underparts and a bill that is mostly orange or yellow.
During the breeding season they get two small crests of black and white feathers on the side of their heads and the facial skin turns more orange.
November 4th, 2016
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