There’s something other-worldly about our coastal neighbour the cormorant. Something a bit dragon-esque. Their iridescent scale-like feathers flash against the autumn sun in bright purples and greens, and their piercing green eyes staring out along the Taff down a hooked beak.
These prehistoric looking birds appear inland during Autumn and Winter, heading out to coastal regions during the Spring/Summer for breeding – so here in Cardiff we get the best of both worlds. During this time of year they can be seen flying and swimming up and down our rivers, in small groups or alone.
I’ve been spotting them in Grangetown resting on the small dock area south of the Millennium Stadium, the autumn light really brings out the best of their wonderful plumage. If you want to get up close to them at the moment that’s the place I’d recommend – have a sit on the bank and see what they’re up to.
Just look at how perfectly adapted they are to their surroundings. Webbed feet on set back legs, ideal for propelling underwater. A streamlined body and hooked beak make for a deadly combination for stealth whilst hunting for fish, eels, and other aquatic prey. With ancestry dating back to the era of dinosaurs it’s no wonder they have that jurassic look!
Whilst for the majority it’s a welcome visitor to our city, the cormorant still faces persecution against anglers and shooters who value their sport over the lives of these fascinating birds. This is despite there being evidence that climate and environmental factors do more damage to fish stocks than cormorants. Read more about it here. To support birds against persecution, join your local wildlife charity and help them with a donation or by giving your time.
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