In my old files (I'm a bit of a pack-rat......not a surprise to those who know me well), I have a copy of the 1970 spring-summer issue of the Fish And Wildlife Review, a publication produced several times a year by the Department of Lands & Forests, precursor to the Ministry of Natural Resources, which is now the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (I'm not sure why the politicians thought Forestry had to be added to Natural Resources, as ever since 1973 when MNR was created, Forestry was always included since it is a natural resource. But I digress......)
|Banding cormorants on Big Chicken Island, with East Sister Island in the background|
It didn't take long for the nesting colonies on East Sister and Middle Island to have some major impacts on the lush vegetation there. Cormorants do eat fish, and their excrement is quite caustic. They were nesting in trees and in a fairly dense colony, and so when the ~4 chicks pooped over the edge of the nest, the leaves of the trees were eventually destroyed. Trees started dying. The lush vegetation was in serious trouble, as at the peak, there were well over a thousand nests on East Sister Island alone.
|East Sister Island|
Cormorants have continued to expand their nesting sites in the Great Lakes. They have expanded to places like Rondeau Provincial Park, initially occupying a small unvegetated island towards the south end of the bay/marsh area. There they nest on the sandy island or in the fallen trees that remain.
|Cormorant nesting cluster, with Bald Eagle at top|
|Sunset over the western basin of Lake Erie|