Friday, June 5, 2009

Brandt's cormorant
Phalacrocorax penicillatus

Despite a very late start this year (compared to as early as February in past years), it looks like the cormorants at the end of the Coast Guard Pier are making headway with their nests... and have successfully booted off the young sea lions from the rocks. I have to say there doesn't seem to be quite as many cormorants as I've seen in past years.


Keith E said...

any insight as to why the late start? do they start earlier in warmer years?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hi, again, Keith. Disclaimer: I don't study bird stuff in any real way, and most of my information comes from my own random first-hand observations (which notedly can be highly misleading, because I am rather random in my observations). Here's what I've gathered about our locally nesting cormorants - Brandt's and pelagic will start nest-building anytime the weather is well-suited, starting as early as late-November for pelagic (the less-colony-like ones under the Aquarium and old cannery structures) and mid-February for the highly social Brandt's (as shown in this post). If storms hit and wipe away the nest structures, then they continue to start over until they're successful. If there are no big storms, then they may have more than 1 brood a year (definitely true for pelagic with what I think I've seen as up-to 4 complete nest-cycles a year, but I haven't kept as close of an eye on Brandt's). Btw, we also get double-crested cormorants here as fly-by visitors in the winter. I've never seen double-crested nesting here. Are you local?