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Old Jun 22, 2007, 9:59 PM   #1
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I'm hardly an ornithologist or even a casual backyard birder... I got this pair today, located in northwestern New Jersey. Can anyone please identify them for me? Thanks!
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 11:51 PM   #2
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Those are cormorants. Very nice shots. They have nice details on the wing feathers.

- Hung
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Old Jun 23, 2007, 9:47 AM   #3
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good shot, the wings almost look like scales, some prehistoric bird
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Old Jun 23, 2007, 9:51 AM   #4
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Cormorants! Thank you so much for the ID, Hung. I used Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights tool to exaggerate the wing detail. I only knew the birds by name, not by sight. I always thought they were coastal birds, and this pair was about 40 miles from the Atlantic, but I've just read on the Internet that cormorants are inhabiting lakes further inland, and Lake Hopatcong - New Jersey's largest lake - is only a few miles away. I better pay more attention to what's going on around me!

They fled as soon as I got closer than 30 ft; they swim low in the water.

Edit: yeah Bill, I had the same thought as you regarding the scaly feathers and prehistoric appearance. The local ducks didn't seem perturbed by the cormorants' presence, though there was no intermingling as I usually see between the ducks and geese.


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Old Jun 23, 2007, 7:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
I always thought they were coastal birds, and this pair was about 40 miles from the Atlantic, but I've just read on the Internet that cormorants are inhabiting lakes further inland, and Lake Hopatcong - New Jersey's largest lake - is only a few miles away
Thisparticular cormorantis the Double-crested Cormorant, which inhabits both fresh and salt water, nesting on either trees nearwater or onthe groundon offshore islands. It is widespread in North America in spring and summer,but winters onlyalongthe coasts. The other 5 species of North American cormorants are all coastal.

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they swim low in the water
This is because they can dive to great depths after fish, and need not to be too bouyant. Their feathers are not waterproof, so they do not trap air near the skin, and so do not ride as high on the water as ducks and geese. When they spread their wings as you have photographed them, they are both drying their feathers and warming themselves in the sun.

Not the most beautiful of birds, but among the most interesting.

Nice shots.
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Old Jun 23, 2007, 7:35 PM   #6
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They seem to be expanding their range. I don't remember seeing them along the Iowa shores of the Mississippi when I was young, but they are abundant there, now.


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Old Jun 23, 2007, 7:55 PM   #7
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nice capture of the details of theri wings! these birds are also common here in the NW... and they have the most amazing, jewel-like eyes!
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Old Jun 23, 2007, 10:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for looking, guys - this has become very interesting to me. I was hoping you would chime in, Prof. Penolta, and thank you for doing so.

From what I could glean from my photos, Squirl, their eyes seem to be a brilliant blue - I could discern this even from my less than sparkling photos.
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Old Jun 23, 2007, 11:26 PM   #9
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their eyes are sort of a brilliant blue-green... here's a closer look...


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Old Jun 23, 2007, 11:34 PM   #10
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Wow, you weren't kidding in describing the eyes as "jewel-like".

Thank you for posting that awesome pic!
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