Orphaned baby cormorant begs fisherman for his catch
Cormorants are aquatic birds that dive for fish and look very similar to a loon when they are swimming. Like the loon, they are clumsy on land but extremely graceful on top of and under the water. They are heavy birds that prefer to swim instead of fly. The cormorant lacks the beautiful markings and striking plumage that makes the loon a favorite sight of cottagers and bird watchers. Cormorants are the extremely intelligent though, and they are very quick to catch on when there is an opportunity for food.
This baby cormorant appeared to be starving and without his parents. It appeared that he was orphaned and a little too young to be on his own. He had been seen hanging around the dock and swimming area at this family cottage on a remote lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. Dave had caught a fish and the sight and smell of it had the baby bird very excited. Cleaning his catch on the rock near the edge of the water, he decided to see if the little fellow would venture close enough to be fed. The cormorant waddled right up on the rock to plead for some scraps. Dave began to cut a chunk of fish off but the hungry bird tried to grab the whole bass, which was almost as big as he was. There was no way he would be able to swallow it so Dave repeatedly cut chunks off and handed them to the cormorant. Starvation encouraged trust and the two became quick friends. The family named the bird Cori and they fed him several times that day and the next.
Cormorants are known for their intelligence and Cori proved to be exceptionally bright. Within two days he would come when called by name. He began sunning himself on the rock near the swimming area and standing on the rock beside Dave's son, Chris. He took a particular liking to Chris and even walked across his lap or relaxed beside him like a dog would do.
Cori grunted to his adoptive family in an obvious and adorable effort to communicate when he was content. Cormorants are known for their use of grunting sounds to convey messages to each other.
Cori needed a little help for a few weeks until he became stronger. He was encouraged to dive for scraps of fish, as other cormorants must do. He followed Dave's canoe while Dave caught him fish and he even hopped in to sit patiently waiting for his meal.
Cori was able to get his own food within a week and began showing up less frequently for handouts. Cori migrated south at the end of the summer but returned in the spring and he can still be seen on the lake as he fishes on his own. Occasionally, he will venture close if he is spoken to and he will listen curiously, but he is truly a wild bird once again.