ARTISTS AND BIRDS

"The Magic of October"

Double-crested Cormorant

cormorant        October is a special month for me. 1. The weather is cooler. 2. The fall colors are beautiful. 3. There is a hunger to be outdoors. There was hunger in thousands of people this October in southern Utah to be outdoors and participate in the St. George Marathon, and the Huntsman World Senior Olympics. My friend from the hospital told me that people in our area are physically better off than most places because of the great weather, the scenic beauty around them, and them wanting to be outdoors doing things.

        My Honey and I were outdoors basking in the magic of October, watching our daughter pitch on the Kansas Kids’ softball team, when a group of Cormorants flew overhead. We knew they had to be the Double-crested Cormorant because they are seen regularly on southern Utah ponds, rivers, and reservoirs. Cormorants are the fish eaters that people remember from old Chinese movies. The birds were used to catch fish for the fishermen. But how do the fish-eating Cormorants make a living in the dry southwest? In the last few years, bodies of water have expanded, much to the delight of boaters, fishermen, and golfers. Our lakes and reservoirs have been stocked with fish to provide recreational opportunities. The Cormorant population has had its ups and downs over the last two centuries. Today their numbers are of least concern, except where there are fisheries. When Cormorants help themselves at fisheries, they can become pests.

        If you would like to see Double-crested Cormorants, visit Quail Lake, Sand Hollow, Gunlock, and Panguitch Reservoirs, or any open body of water. If there’s good fishing, the Cormorants will be around. They could be perching on sandbars, water soaked logs, or marshy vegetation. They could be flying overhead.

        Keith Davis is the artist of this color pencils drawing. If you have questions about birds, Red Cliffs Audubon presentations, or monthly field trips call 435 673-0996.

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