Despite being local icons and part the landscape, I’ve heard them referred to as flying rats. Stinky, dirty and worthy of a cull. Several years ago they tried to drive them away by removing a derelict barge that served as a nesting ground. That backfired and the cormorants moved into town. Then they took firehoses to them.
I don’t know enough about anything to take more than a stand against bullying nature. Maybe they are a nuisance that shits on our doorstep. We fill the sky with poison and flush much more than our toilets into the sea. But that’s not what I want to write about.
Cormorants live in colonies and eat fish. Their homes seem kind of thrown together. Some people see them as ugly, gawky and despicable.
Do you know that of all the grace I encounter on morning walks, their glide over water is among the loveliest things I witness? For the long breath it takes to coast and gently splash-land I am empty. Brought to mirror stillness. For a moment. That’s what I know about cormorants.
There is also the rippling trail of wingtips on water as they take off. Close to the surface, all the way across the bay.