November 10, 2011 —
This double-crested cormorant was a recent and unusual visitor to Greeley Lake in Pike County, PA, where it lingered for approximately one week in a swampy area of the lake. Normally found in colonies and traveling in flocks, this bird appeared to be alone.
Double-crested cormorants are black, sturdily built birds with long hooked bills, long necks and an orange throat pouch. Their voice is a deep guttural grunt, although they are typically silent in flight. This bird primarily eats fish, which it hunts by swimming and diving to depths of up to 25 feet for between 30 to 70 seconds.
While populations are now on the rise, they had decreased in the 1960s from impacts of the chemical DDT, and from humans who perceived the successful hunter as a threat to fishing resources.
According to the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds,” the word “cormorant” is derived from the Latin corvus marinus, or “sea crow.”