Injured Cormorant: Advice from The Raptor Trust

Regarding the cormorant seen this past weekend with the hook through its mouth, Lauren Butcher of The Raptor Trust writes:

"This is a difficult situation — this young cormorant obviously needs help if possible, but as long as it can fly and swim, it will be nearly impossible to catch.  Wild goose chases don't just apply to wild geese!  

"In cases like this, the only opportunity to capture the bird may be (unfortunately) as it becomes more debilitated from infection or hunger. 

"If you do have the opportunity to look for this cormorant again, you might go prepared with a deep, long-handled net (small holes in the mesh would be best so the bird doesn't get tangled), a beach towel or blanket, some thick work gloves, and a secure cardboard box with air holes, lined with a towel.  (Actually, this is a good bird rescue kit to have for all sorts of situations.)"

The rest of her advice follows.

"If you are trying to capture/handle any sort of fishing bird (cormorant, gull, especially heron or egret), be very careful of your own face and eyes — these birds have a lightning-fast strike and excellent aim, and they will go for your face as they try to defend themselves.  

"Obviously, you'll need to use a net if the bird is in the water, but if it is on land, you might be able to use the towel/blanket as a sort of cast net to drop down over the bird's body and head.  

"With the towel still over the bird, gently but firmly wrap both hands around the bird, closing its wings into its body.  Keep its head and neck pointed away from you, lower it into the box, close the box securely, and get it to The Raptor Trust or another licensed avian rehabilitator as soon as possible."

(Thanks, Lauren!)

5 thoughts on “Injured Cormorant: Advice from The Raptor Trust

  1. Mickey Raine

    Lauren, thanks for this detailed write up on how to possibly handle the poor cormorant if spotted, but most likely, only if it is in a weakened state, not too resistant. On the other hand, it’s really discouraging to think that, in the worst scenario, it may never be found and eventually expire. Regardless, this is great information for potential future situations. Elaine was shocked at the size of the metal piece when using the binoculars to gain a better view that day, and several of our friends, upon the photo inspection, had wondered about the chances of survival with something that large piercing its face.
    Mickey & Elaine Raine

    1. Steven Newland

      Injured commorant has hook in the wing. Been watching 4 days. Bird can still swim and dive under water. He can’t fly and I notice wings looking scrawny. Should I try and capture and take him to rehab center or let nature handle the situation.

  2. Gerald A.

    I got interested what cormorant looks like. It looks like a heron. We need to protect this to preserve its extinction. They can be rarely found nowadays so, as early as we could, let’s give cormorant value by protecting and saving them.


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