As a kid growing up near the Great Lakes, I never saw a cormorant. They were few and far between, I am told, because DDT brought them to the brink of extinction. Well, I am happy to say that they’re back, and spread across the continent from Alaska to Florida.
I was on the Maid of the Mist a few years ago, and as we were approaching the mighty Niagara Falls, I saw a double-breasted cormorant (I assume–it wasn’t close enough for me to count) fly across the gorge and land within six feet of the thundering waters at the base of Horseshoe Falls. Amidst the roiling, churning cauldron of water, it took a nose dive in classic cormorant fashion into the depths, hunting for fish. With admiration I watched it surface a moment later, unfazed by the tumult, bobbing up and down on the surface. If I had to choose, I think I would rather go over the falls strapped to a cormorant than in a barrel.