Double-crested Cormorant

Several days ago at Murrell’s Inlet fishing pier, I spotted this Double-crested Cormorant sunning….._DSC0050-1 11818

….and preening.




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His beak was covered with feather down from the preening.  Can you see his gorgeous blue eye?  Interestingly, the inside of their mouth is also blue.

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After photographing him, a gentleman approached me to ask what kind of bird he was, he had seen the bird here for three days, and it’s wing was injured.  The Cormorant never stretched so I couldn’t tell.  I told the gentleman this was a diving, swimming bird that fed on fish and hoped he was able to take care of & feed himself.

And so guess what?  I later worried a little bit about that young Cormorant too.

I returned yesterday and found the Cormorant still there, and this time he was diving & feeding in the high tide waters.  I felt a little better.

The Cormorant gave me a nice profile before another quick dive.  I didn’t stay with him, because I didn’t want to discourage his feeding.  My ‘new’ gentleman friend was also there walking the pier, and he was so excited to see the Cormorant fishing.

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When I later came back pass the Cormorant, he was back up on his perch.  He stretched his wings to sun himself, and I saw the end half of his right wing was missing.  Poor fella.

I’ll be looking for him on my returns to the fishing pier.


34 thoughts on “Double-crested Cormorant

  1. Love that last pic showing the water flow behind the bird, and the reflection in the beautiful blue water. I do hope he survives – he’s going to be up against it…

  2. Lovely pictures, and I also like the last one best, with the flowing water and reflection. Last summer I photographed a cormorant sitting in the water near our shoreline with his bill pointed to the sky. He remained that way the entire time I watched him. I asked our mutual friend Judy Wink what was going on and she said he was definitely ailing and near the end of his life. He was having trouble breathing, thus the reason for his strange posture. I never saw him again

    • Thank you Susan! You’re like me, we love reflections. I think this Cormorant could have a chance since he’s able to dive, swim, and feed. I even saw him walk so I know he has two feet thank goodness (photos showed him standing on only one leg, so the other was tucked.) 🙂

  3. Wonderful story of how we come across a wild beauty and care about them, wonder about them, hope for them. Your photos are terrific, Donna. It seems I can never get enough of that dazzling blue eye of the DC cormorant, so this was great to see here. Didn’t know the inside of their mouths were blue too. How interesting….

    • Thank you, Jet! I didn’t know about the blue mouth either until recently, now that’d be an awesome capture. It is nice to know he can feed as I couldn’t stand the thought of him starving.

  4. Great shots Donna! I’m sorry about this bird but I’m sure that he’ll adapt to survive his accident. as long as he can feed himself, he will be fine. 🙂

  5. Nice captures Donna. I too hope he fares well. Cormorants will also stretch their wings to help dry them off after getting them wet from a dive. I’ve been told that they do not have the oils that many other diving birds have (e.g., various diving duck species) which help to shed water, so they need to take advantage of the air and sun to help them dry off wet feathers.

    • Thanks Steve! Yes, they do not have enough preening oils and need to dry their wings spread, which is always neat to see a bunch of Cormorants doing that. Always reminds me of the batman logo. lol

      On the plus side, having less oils keeps their feathers soaked, making it easier for cormorants to hunt underwater with agility and speed.

      • It would be indeed. I’ve seen shore birds up on the shore with fishing line wrapped around their legs, and wings, and it breaks my heart. I wonder if that happened to him and he was able to get untangled or helped by humans and has adapted to his handicap?
        I hope he survives!

    • No, I didn’t see him fly. He’s been there for several days now, and the injured wing did not look like it was recently hurt (no open wound or discoloring). I’ll be back over there in next day or two and see what’s up…..and whether my ‘new’ gentleman friend is there, he’s watching him daily. He likes giving me updates, and is learning bird IDs from me. 🙂

      • Nice exchange there with your ‘new’ gentleman friend. Good to see someone else becoming interested in and concerned for our feathered friends.

  6. Lovely story Donna, he looks like a healthy specimen despite the wing injury. As long as he can catch fish he will do well, and you can visit him anytime and tell people where they can see a Double-crested Cormorant. Though the title double-crested eludes me somewhat, as I can not see any crest. Thanks Donna, I love the way you captured the light on the birds head.

    • Thanks Ashley! Yes, he’s healthy looking and able to feed himself. The adults develop a small double crest of stringy black or white feathers during breeding season. I’ve yet to see that myself!

  7. Beautiful pictures – I love the blue eye. They always look like they’re smiling to me. A couple years ago I actually saw the double crest standing up like two ears. Wonderful that he was able to swim and feed. Flying might be a whole other matter though. A delicate balance with those feathers…

    • I get the flash of a ‘batman logo’ when I see them spread their wings, lol. I’m in the lower states now and the temperatures are mild enough for him to be okay. I’m going to check up on him in next day or two!

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