Back at one of my new favorite walks around Lake Temescal in Oakland, California, I was amazed to find the wildlife there so habituated to human traffic. Apparently, people don’t try to bother or scare them, so the birds sit very still and just watch us walk by. We passed within six feet of this Black-crowned Night Heron, and the grandkids were not particularly quiet about seeing it either.
At the other end of the lake from the Night Heron was a “gulp” of double-crested cormorants, or you could say, a “fllght, rookery, sunning, or swim” of them — such are the collective nouns for a group of Cormorants.
Perhaps “sunning of cormorants” is a better descriptor of the group, since each time they get out of the water, they spread their wings and turn toward the sun to dry off.
Even the Wood Ducks are tame here, and quietly paddle around their small pond, not flying away the minute they spot you. I wonder how long it takes wild animals to become as habituated to human presence as they have here — and why don’t the animals in my backyard let me approach this closely??