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Double-crested Cormorant

Phalacrocorax auritus

This species breeds in large colonies of up to 10, 000 breeding pairs, either in trees or on the edge of cliffs. Their range in Eastern Canada, where they spend the summer, extends along the St.Lawrence River and Estuary, the North Shore, The Gaspe Peninsula, Cape Breton, Newfoundland and Anticosti Island. Adults dive for 30 seconds or more to capture small fish, and the young cormorants are fed a slightly processed meal-a regurgitant from their parents! Double-crested cormorants are now relative common along the St. Lawrence River, having increased from 12,000 pairs in 1979 to 22,000 pairs in 1990. But this hasn't always been the case, as this bird has long been persecuted. Not only was this species hunted for both eggs and meat, but they were thought to compete with fishermen. In June of 1998, over 800 of these birds were illegally shot in Eastern Lake Ontario, while 20 were shot in 1994 on Four Brothers Island, New York. In addition to these illegal massacres, a Quebec government-sponsored control program involves shooting adults, destroying nests, and spraying eggs with an oily substance that asphyxiates the embryos. This species overwinters on the Pacific coast.

Map of Double-crested Cormorant in Canada
Distribution of Double-crested Cormorant in Canada

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