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Cormorant Bird Overabundance in Wisconsin

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Article intro:
In the 1970’s, the Cormorant was nearly wiped out from existence when its habitat was loaded with toxic chemicals. With very little control with the use of toxic chemicals in that decade. The wildlife environment was being contaminated. The bald eagle was also nearly wiped out from eating contaminated food (fish) during this period.

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Cormorant Overabundance in Wisconsin
by Kevin Doberstein
Copyright Protected 2005

What is a Cormorant?

The double-crested cormorant is just a bit more than two feet long on average with a wingspan of about four feet. Its color is dark brown to black feathers and has a long hooked bill. The males and females look quite similar. They are a migrating traveler from the Alaskan coast to Mexico. It loves to eat fish. It tends to live in a freshwater habitat.

In the 1970’s, it was nearly wiped out from existence when its habitat was loaded with toxic chemicals. With very little control with the use of toxic chemicals in that decade. The wildlife environment was being contaminated. The bald eagle was also nearly wiped out from eating contaminated food (fish) during this period.

Finally people started to realize the fact that dumping these chemicals in mother earth was not a good idea. Now we have to work to clean father sky from acid rain.

Rebounding Cormorant.

In the early 1970’s, there were about 130 remaining. Since then the cormorant population exploded to nearly 40,000 pairs!

With the huge increase of the cormorant, fishing sportsmen are saying they are excessively eating the game fish in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area waters. Particularly the Yellow Perch. Environmentalists claim that invasive zebra muzzles and white perch are also taking a toll on Yellow Perch. Also the increase of game fish like walleye is consuming their share. Because the cormorant are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal permit had to be obtained in 2004 to try to control the birds in the Green Bay area waters. A total of 436 cormorants were killed in 2004. They all had fish in them from eating according to the officials. (What were they expecting from a fish eating bird, apples or oranges?)

Wisconsin legislature moves into action.

Because of the request of the sportsmen, Bill 486 was created. This bill reads as follows, “the management of double-crested cormorants and granting rule-making authority.

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to, in cooperative with federal agencies, administer a program to control and manage double-crested cormorants. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior has issued an order that applies to many states, including Wisconsin, which authorizes the states to control and manage double-crested cormorants that are causing damage to fish, plants, wildlife, and their habitats. This bill requires DNR to administer the program in a manner that complies with federal order.”

The hooligans. Flying around and eating fish.

Some of the effects of too many cormorants are:

 Destroying trees and vegetation.

 Pushing other birds out.

 Eating to many game fish.

Some of the benefits of the cormorants are:

 They are an indicator when a habitat area is healthy.

 They can help keep the fish population in balance.

 They can be enjoyable to watch.

The Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation want the state to take action to avoid lawlessness actions.


About the Author:
Kevin Doberstein enjoys wildlife and nature while hiking in the Wisconsin great outdoors. He is also the owner of Nature Boy Natural Images. This web site displays outdoor wildlife and nature photography. He also has the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Blog. The Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation and Wildlife Blog is for promoting and protecting nature and wildlife resources in the state of Wisconsin.


About the Author

Kevin Doberstein enjoys wildlife and nature while hiking in the Wisconsin great outdoors. He is also the owner of Nature Boy Natural Images. http://www.cafepress.com/nature_images. This web site displays outdoor wildlife and nature photography. The Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation and Wildlife Blog is for promoting and protecting nature and wildlife resources in the state of Wisconsin.

 

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