Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Cormorant taking off from the water...doing the Cormorant Hop!

...back to the Captiva Island, Florida posts!
Birding Sanibel Island and the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Cormorants are always fun to watch. I like to follow them when they are diving for fish, but watching their take-offs is sometimes even more entertaining. They don't pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter pat across the water in a running motion before eventually hauling their stout and dripping wet bodies out of the water and into the air--they hop, hop, HOP!


A Double-crested Cormorant swims the waters of the Ding Darling NWR.
His sparkling turquoise-colored eyes and orangish face mask command attention...


...hmmmm...that water looks like it's starting to boil. Something must be going on with those feet!


SPLASH! Cormorants use both feet at the same time to push off the water when they are taking off, basically hopping their way in huge leaps across the water. If you follow the splashes you can see this fellow's progress...a big splash, then undisturbed water, then another big splash, etc. (One of my favorite bird reference books is the National Geographic Reference Atlas to the Birds of North America by Mel Baughman. I like this book because is discusses bird behavior and general information instead of bird ID. You can read more about the cormorant's take-off method in this book.)


...the hops are getting further apart...and you can see his two feet working together!


...do we have lift off?


...no, but almost...one more really big hop should do it...


...see you later C-bird!

...these photos were taken on March 22, 2011 at the Ding Darling NWR on Sanibel Island, Florida. It was so beautiful...warm, sunny, and blue!

25 comments:

mick said...

That's a great series of action photos. Interesting info about how cormorants take off. I must go looking for some and watch more carefully next time!

Kay said...

You have managed to capture the "hop" quite well! I always love your blog posts.
Kay

Bob Bushell said...

The Cormorants are truly remarkable, their taking off is a wonderful, those photos are one the best.

ShySongbird said...

A great series of photos Kelly! They do put a lot of effort into taking off :) Ding Darling!! What a great name ;)

Love the photo of the Squirrel on the previous post!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Amazing--both the process and the photos.

Janice K said...

His bill looks like he has a fish hook attached to the end of it....After watching your description of his take off it made me realize what tremendous strength waterfowl must have in their wings in order to lift off of water. Wow!

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely pics, I enjoty watching them.One year the flock roosted across from my cabin each night. It was strange to watch their wings all held out to dry off.

Frank said...

Hop .. skip .. and undercarriage away ... lovely sequence Kelly.

Roy said...

Great shots, Kelly! Yeah, it's a hoot to watch Cormorants take off; you always wonder if the poor bird is gonna make it off the water.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful pictures, Kelly... You captured the cormorant well...

I'd love to go to Sanibel sometime. Even when I lived in Venice in the 70's---I never made it down there.
Hugs,
Betsy

Little Brown Job said...

Fantastic sequence Kelly!

Montanagirl said...

That water looks so inviting. Very nice series, Kelly!

Larry said...

Awesome series Kelly! How come I have never seen this? I don't think I've ever seen a Cormorant take off out of the water but i sure will look for it now. I guess I've only seen them take off from a perch.

Alan said...

Nice photos Kelly. We have lots of Cormorants here along the coast but didnt realize that they took-off like that, very interesting. Thanks for the book reference as well.
Alan

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

Great post! I wish cormorants would let me get a bit closer to them before they hop away.

Rebecca said...

Great series, photos and narration!

dreamfalcon said...

great series. Quite difficult to take photos of birds taking off. I didn't know that they were hopping. Next time I'll have to watch more closly :)

Elaine said...

Fantastic series! I love the hop, hop, hop!

holdingmoments said...

Fascinating captures Kelly.
I think we can learn more from watching birds, than looking in ID books ;)

Roy said...

Great action shots.

Elizabeth Smith said...

Wonderful post and what fantastic photos! I've never seen a Cormorant take off either, they always seem to be sitting around in the sun. I loved it!

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! I was hoping I'd be able to capture some of it with the camera...you never know! I love those hopping feet (of course, their wings are working a lot too).

NatureFootstep said...

this is truly an amazing set of shots. It is fun to study how the different birds behave. Thanks for sharing the info. :)

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Awesome Cormorant action, fun images! Looks like a wonderful place.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Great shots! I learned something new today!