Cormorant Control Approved on Lake Vermilion

According to the Ely Timberjay newspaper the DNR recently announced their decision to kill ten up to 10% of the Double Crested Cormorants on Lake Vermilion this summer. In addition, cormorant eggs will be spread with vegetable oil to prevent them from hatching and at the same time not stimulate the birds to renest.  Cormorant populations are skyrocketing in the Midwest. The Timberjay cites one example on Lake Vermilion’s Potato Island where there were 32 nests in 2004 and 424 nests in 2012. Anglers and Lake Vermilion lodge owners believe increasing numbers of the fish-eating cormorants will result in diminished gamefish populations in the lake. The DNR has already recorded reduced numbers of perch in Lake Vermilion which they believe could ultimately affect walleye populations. The Audubon Society of Minnesota believes Double-Crested Cormorants are often unfairly blamed for decreasing game fish populations and adamantly oppose cormorant control programs that have not been supported with data or sufficient study. They also believe that removing the protection of cormorants diminishes the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and sets a harmful precedent. I am not a big fan of cormorants. I thought they were actually new to the Midwest. Their population is sure behaving like a skyrocketing invasive. They seem like carp with wings! But actually they may just be re-establishing themselves after having the snot knocked out of them from DDT in the 20th Century. Just because they are not a handsome bird, exploding in numbers and eating fish that could as easily end up in the gullets of walleyes, should the DNR shoot them and rub their eggs with oil? Maybe. Or maybe we could get the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts to do it. It may sound counter-intuitive but you can learn a lot about nature sometimes by doing the blood work. If it’s necessary. I remember the first flock of cormorants I saw coming in to land on LacLavon. A different style of flight than the geese and ducks I had become accustomed to. It’s cool to have some in the neighborhood. But too much is too much.

photo from Ely’s Newspaper The Timberjay!

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