Mission: To promote the appreciation of wildlife and increase harmony between humanity and nature.

On Instagram and Twitter: @unionbaywatch

Friday, January 31, 2014

Looking for Harvey

In case you missed the January 18th post, this is Harvey. A cormorant hatched on East Sand Island in the mouth of the Columbia River. 

Harvey can be identified by this yellow band on his left leg with the code, HV9. If you would like to read the prior story, Click HereDuring the last two weeks I have been searching for Harvey curious to know if he (or she) is hanging around Union Bay or was only visiting.

Dozens of cormorants on land, well at least in trees on land, have been checked.

I have been watching cormorants in the air and...

..on the water.

Last week while looking for Harvey it looked like Eva was in the cottonwood on Foster Island, while...

... Albert was using her usual 520 light pole. What was very interesting was how much Albert was moving around. Looking first one direction and then the other.

He would gaze off into the distance...

...and then look down to check out a nearby opportunity.

He was in almost constant motion...

...looking one way and then the other. It was as if he was nervous. This movement was in contrast to Eva who was very composed and regal. Her movements seemed similar to the speed of the sun as it slid down behind the Olympics.

Two thoughts crossed my mind. One was Albert may be a lot younger than Eva and possibly his movements were just the energy of youth. On the other hand maybe Albert really was nervous to be sitting in Eva's favorite spot given her larger size.

In any case it appears that Harvey may have moved on or it could be that I have just been looking for Harvey in all the wrong places. Either way it is wonderful to have wildlife in our neighborhood and the opportunity to get to know them.

Have a great day on Union Bay...where nature lives it the city!


Correction regarding managing birds to save fish:

By the way in the previous post I was in error when I said the cormorants on East Sand Island are being actively managed. They are still being studied at this time and active management has not yet commenced. Here are emails on the subject from an exchange with Yasuko who is one of the researchers involved. Yasuko has been exceedingly kind and professional to provide explanations and links to a number of sources with more information on the subject. Please take a look if you like. The effort being spent nation-wide is amazing in its scope. It raises the question, Should we be managing the bird's behavior or our own?

On Jan 20, 2014, at 5:03 PM, Suzuki, Yasuko wrote:

Hi Larry,

Thank you for letting us know the details of your observation of the banded cormorant! Thanks also for letting me know about including my e-mail response in your blog. I do not mind it, and it is OK if you would like to include my work phone number and e-mail as well.

I enjoyed your blog post and the beautiful photos! I noticed that you mentioned about active management of the cormorant colony at East Sand Island. It might be confusing, but active management of double-crested cormorant colony at East Sand Island has not been implemented yet. Wildlife management agencies have been working to put together Environmental Impact Statement, which lists management options and needs feedback from public, before management can actually take place. Bird Research Northwest conducts studies (e.g. satellite tagging cormorants to evaluate post-breeding dispersal, like the paper you cited in your blog) to provide information that management agencies need to make management plans. Again, this might look very confusing, so please let me know if you have questions.   

Thank you again for your report and additional information!


From: Larry Hubbell
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 8:08 AM
To: Suzuki, Yasuko
Subject: Re: DC Comorant | Harvey and The Band


Thank you for the clarification. I think it was the following statement in the Abstract that confused me.

"To reduce conflicts with fish resources, other colonial waterbirds, and damage to habitats, double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) are currently controlled (lethally and non-lethally) throughout much of their range."

So if I understand correctly there have been actions taken to limit DCC reproduction at ESI but they have all been studies or tests to help determine the most appropriate or effective way to limit DCC consumption of young salmon. No particular method of limiting reproduction has been selected or implemented on an ongoing basis at this time.

You also made the point that this process is open to public comment. Personally I would like to see us all (myself included) use less water and restore more streams as functional salmon breeding habitat. Beyond that I am wondering what intelligent and useful public comments could be made. Do you have thoughts you can share on this?

Thank you for your guidance and I will be happy to post a clarification.


Hi Larry,

Thank you for letting me know where the confusion came from. There has not been any actual management action taken to reduce reproduction of double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island. However, the amount of available nesting habitat for cormorants at East Sand Island has been manipulated to test the feasibility of potential management methods. This is mainly to explore methods to reduce the colony size (number of breeding pairs).    

The link below is a short summary of what is going on (or not going on) at the East Sand Island cormorant colony;

And this link shows detailed reports we write annually that includes information of feasibility studies we have conducted;

As for my thoughts on public comments, I cannot share my thoughts on this at this point. The Environmental Impact Statement is currently being developed by wildlife management agencies. We, researchers studying double-crested cormorants at East Sand Island, are not involved in this process other than providing technical advice when the agencies have questions. So, I do not know what will be included in the statement and when it will be available for public review, and this makes meeting your request (sharing my thoughts to your question) difficult.

I think learning details on this topic is probably a great thing to do in order to make intelligent and useful public comments. Our project website provides a lot of information on cormorants nesting on East Sand Island and other sites in Pacific NW through published papers and unpublished (but available through the link above) annual reports.

To learn what types of management actions have been taken in other areas of the US, the link below is very useful;

I hope this helps. I am leaving for an airport in Japan (to fly back to Oregon) in ½ hours and won’t be able to respond to your e-mail for the next couple of days. But if you have other questions, I will respond once I return to the office.


No comments:

Post a Comment