Drying time

If you’re a busy Cormorant that’s been diving for fish all morning on Los Gatos creek, you need to spend some time drying off before flying on to the next destination.

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

Diving Cormorants sit very low in the water, all the better to quickly submerge in search of prey.

The reason for the “drying time” requirement is because Cormorants do not water-proof their feathers with an oily secretion as other birds do, which makes it easier for them to stay submerged, dive, and “fly” through the water.

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

This juvenile Cormorant spotted a potential drying off place, and began to raise itself up to get on the branch.

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

Even wet feathers can lift the bird a little ways up in the air…

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

Lots of wing flaps begin the process of drying off…

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

Really vigorous wing flaps may shake the water off those feathers, but somehow the bird doesn’t lift off the log.

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

The more typical Cormorant “drying off” pose. This works best where there is a little sun and some wind, neither of which this site on the creek provides.

juvenile Double -crested Cormorant, Los Gatos creek park, San Jose, CA

Finally satisfied with the dryness of its wing feathers, the youngster relaxes and looks around. It is unperturbed by my presence only 20 feet away. I wonder why?

Now it’s easier to see the difference in coloration between this juvenile bird, with its pale throat and chest and brown head, and an adult bird.

Adult Double-crested Cormorant

An adult bird in breeding plumage sports a set of white-tinged crests on either side of its very black head.

5 thoughts on “Drying time

  1. Many years ago, I grew horticultural commodities where Highway 85 crosses Los Gatos Creek and Winchester Boulevard. Our fields were where the freeway and Netflix is now, and fronted on Los Gatos Creek. I remember ducks mostly. Los Gatos Creek was not in such good condition back then.

      • Now that it is a park, it must be kept up. In never was very polluted or anything like that. It just looked trashy, with all the industrial sites bordering it. Next door to our fields, on the north side of where Netflix is now, there was the ruins of one of the local lumberyards. The banks of the creek were fortified with broken concrete to limit erosion. The concrete is probably still there, but buried so that it is not so visible. For decades, all sorts of trash were dumped onto the wide spots. It was mostly old orchard stubble that would get burned in winter, but other old trash that did not get burned accumulated until the 1990s, when it started to get cleaned up.

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