The Double-crested Cormorant is a difficult bird to photograph because of its dark feathers. They are also one of the more interesting birds that I have photographed during my short “birding” hobby. I’ve been going down to Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake) in central Austin to practice my bird photography, especially birds in flight. The Double-crested Cormorant is a good bird to practice on because they are so many of them and they come and go with a high degree of frequency. Their take-offs and landings should be part of a comedy show. They tend to crash land and take off running on top of the water. Very interesting to see.
Double-crested Cormorants look better up-close. From afar, their colors are quite dark but up-close they are quire colorful. Their orange-yellow face and aquamarine jewel-like eyes add much color to their dark plumage. Cormorants often stand in the sun with their wings spread out to dry. Years ago, there was actually a big debate on why Cormorants spread their wings in the sun. A scientific study was conducted that analyzed five hypothesis: wing-drying, thermoregulation, balance, intra-specific signaling and as an aid to swallowing fish. All the data pointed to wing-drying… These birds have less freen oil than other birds, so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck. This is why you often see Cormorants float “low” in the water.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports Lens set on 600mm. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/1250th of a second and the ISO set at 800. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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© 2016 T. Kahler Photography
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