This big bird spreading its wings is a common sight on the pond. The Double-crested Cormorant lacks oil glands to waterproof its feathers, or so we’re told. After diving for small fish, it must rely on this time-honored method to dry off. The late morning sun applied a golden patina to the scene.
This is one of only two cormorant species commonly found on fresh water, the other being the Neotropic Cormorant. The former is easily distinguishable from the latter by the larger size of its body, head and bill. The “crests” in its name are two small, whitish head plumes that appear on adults during the breeding season, from March to May.
By its white breast, we know this individual to be a juvenile. It will soon acquire the all-black-and-gray plumage of the adult. Indeed, the mottling on its breast suggests that transformation is already under way.
This photo was taken at great distance and enlarged digitally, resulting unavoidably in a soft image. The date was May 10, 2013, at 11:35 am. Click on the image to view it full screen, and the back arrow to return.