According to a story last week in the StarTribune, it appears that all but a few cormorants have disappeared from Lake Waconia where they once numbered in the many hundreds. The story frames this as a mystery. Where have the cormorants gone?
This entire article is a joke though, right? A page from The Onion that got into the mainstream press? Or isn’t there a difference anymore? The whole thing is a hoot…or a squawk, which is what cormorants, living cormorants, do.
Some guy who has been worried about cormorants pooping on his island has had hundreds of the Federally-protected birds shot in recent years. Now they don’t have cormorants on the island. And this is the mystery.
Experts indeed are cited in the story. They point out that it is unlikely that cormorants have a detrimental effect on fish populations, for example, which is a concern apparently. But they can’t see a connection between killing birds leading to no birds. I wonder what the experts thought would happen. Maybe dead cormorants really don’t go away, they just poop less, presumably because they don’t eat fish.
Norman Hoffman is the guy who owns the island and I suppose we have a property rights issue here. So what. When a person owns property they should have a responsibility to it. I’m sure Norman is a fine guy. Why not? But Norman isn’t going to live for ever. That island will not be his forever. Just like any patch of land you own will not be yours for ever by the very unavoidable fact that you will die should say something about private property rights. Am I right or wrong?
I’m sorry birds are pooping on his island. If you own an island in the middle of a lake that is home to hundreds of cormorants, perhaps you should expect a little bird poop. Go find another island! Or get a condo downtown. I see no reason why hundreds of protected birds should be shot “to protect” an uninhabited island on a lake. Maybe the birds should be protected from Norman.
The birds are gone. I suppose someday they might be back. But until then there’s nothing left to do but scratch the head and wonder: What happened to all those birds? Hmmm…I wonder. A mystery, a mystery indeed.
One last comment. I was delighted to see a colloquialism often used to describe casual, uncommitted human sexual behavior used to describe what decimated cormorants might be doing now. When you don’t see hundreds of pairs of nesting cormorants, is there any chance they might still be breeding out there? Possibly. According to the StarTribune article on the matter cormorants might be hooking up!
Come on…unless it is a direct quote, let’s be a bit more technical and formal in our news reporting. It is a slippery slope. When I stop paying my StarTribune subscription, can I expect a letter threatening to “cu in court”?