Laying eggs Monday August 20, 2007, 11 comments

There is this bird in my marina. It’s some sort of cormorant, and it does the funniest thing in the world. It sits on its nest.

The nest is built in a floating wheel buoy. For those not familiar, a wheel buoy is an inflated tire on a wheel floating in the water and tethered to the lake bed by a chain. I am not sure of the purpose of this particular wheel buoy, but there are several around the marina.

So, this cormorant sits on her nest all day, every day. And every day her dutiful mate swims around, braving attacks from canadian geese and one very aggressive male swan, collecting food for her.

She’s sitting on eggs – one can see them when she deigns to haul her chubby butt off that wheel buoy and actually do something. There’s no problem with this, of course. Sitting on eggs is what birds do.

But these eggs haven’t hatched yet, and they were laid in May!

That’s right, little miss sunshine has been sitting on these eggs while her mate works his tail feathers off, in the full knowledge that these eggs will never hatch.

It is a shocking and appalling manipulation of the male bird’s instincts and nature. I feel deeply for that poor male cormorant.


Sumedh Monday August 20, 2007

It is very intriguing, but even though we might know (do we?) that the eggs might never hatch, how can we say that the female knows?
Maybe it’s just a portrayal of heightened optimism!

(I am not trying to debunk what you’ve said…but maybe, just maybe? )

Jorge Tuesday August 21, 2007

You THINK that those are eggs that will never hatch.

But in the middle of the night, when eyes are not so watchful, the real show begins.

Mr & Mrs Cormorant are actually successful drug runners, pulling the wool over your eyes by making you believe that the eggs contain unborn birdies, when in reality, they contain any number of harful narcotics…

They’ve run this scam in many countries, my friend. Many times…

Adrian Tuesday August 21, 2007

Those eggs are as cold and grey as the sky over Lake Ontario today. They will not hatch.

In the time that bird has been sitting there, a pair of swans laid three eggs and hatched three cygnets which are now almost adult size.

And she knows it!

Toby Tuesday August 21, 2007

The eggs hatch after about 25-28 days of incubation, a 30-66% hatching success has been reported.

so yes they will not be hatching, but…

Large pebbles are occasionally found in cormorant nests, and the cormorants treat them as eggs.

So maybe she doesn’t know

Adrian Tuesday August 21, 2007

Wow Toby, resident cormorant expert!

I still say she’s completely aware ;)

Daniel Black Tuesday August 21, 2007

At the risk of appearing to bait flames, this is precisely the kind of cognitive behavior that leads to blind faith in anything: that nagging worry that, just as you give up on something, it will become what you want it to be.

Toby Tuesday August 21, 2007

google is a pretty awesome thing… but as someone pointed out to me, perhaps they are actually very smart and the rocks are there to fool predators… maybe she does know.

actually Daniel that is a good point, sadly i am all to familiar with that conundrum, maybe she doesn’t know… ????

jules Tuesday August 21, 2007

i think i know that bird.
and that wheel buoy thing.
your marina doesn’t happen to overlook funny yellow expensive condos, does it?

Jorge Wednesday August 22, 2007

Jules, you make it sound like the Marina is on land. :)

Adrian Wednesday August 22, 2007

Way up high on land…

Funny yellow expensive condos? That describes virtually any condo building from the 1980s.

The marina’s in Bronte, which is western Oakville.

jules Thursday August 23, 2007

Ahhh – not the same marina.

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