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.
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.
This juvenile Cormorant spotted a potential drying off place, and began to raise itself up to get on the branch.
Even wet feathers can lift the bird a little ways up in the air…
Lots of wing flaps begin the process of drying off…
Really vigorous wing flaps may shake the water off those feathers, but somehow the bird doesn’t lift off the log.
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.
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.
An adult bird in breeding plumage sports a set of white-tinged crests on either side of its very black head.