one lean mean fishing machine
It isn’t every day that you get to watch an expert in action, but on a recent trip to the Everglades I did just that. A Double-crested Cormorant sat on a walkway railing enjoying the morning sun.
One by one, other cormorants flew in to join in pond gazing. At some predetermined time, known only to these large waterbirds, it became open season on the neighborhood fish and they all jumped into the water.
Sensing the potential drama of the moment, I followed this cormorant with my lens. I’m not too pleased with these images, but they do serve to tell a story. The bird stuck its head under water, dove, and soon came up with a plump fish.
The cormorant then proceeded to flip this rather large fish…
…into a streamlined, vertical, head-down-the-gullet position.
Note that a fish swallowed head first has all of its fins smoothly laid against its body. Also note that huge mouth!
Don’t try this at home! You are not a cormorant. Besides, your mother taught you to chew your food.
Within minutes this cormorant resumed fishing and came up with a catfish which it deftly removed of its spines before sending it to join its predecessor. If you ever have the opportunity to watch the Double-crested Cormorants fishing along the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park, don’t miss it. Watching someone else eat has never been more entertaining.