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Diving Deep

Nature in Santa Clarita, it’s not what you look at but what you see.

 

-Wendy Langhans

 

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The double-crested cormorant has a sharp hook on the end of its bill, all the better to catch fish.

Have you ever watched a group of children playing at a swimming pool?  Some kids jump in the water to cool off and then spend the rest of their time lounging in the sun on beach towels.  Other kids love to float on the surface of the water.  While still others find all sorts of reasons to dive under the water – to retrieve a rubber ring or to see who can swim the farthest or hold their breath the longest. 

 

In some ways water birds resemble kids at the swimming pool.  Some like to float on the surface.  Others like to dive.  And some like to lounge in the sunshine.  The double-crested cormorant does two out of three.

 

Double-crested cormorants are divers, not floaters.  They do not coat their feathers with waterproof oil like other water birds.  When water soaks into their feathers, they are less buoyant and can dive deeper, the better to chase after those swiftly moving fish they love to eat. 

 

But their ability to dive deeply comes at a cost.  Think about the last time you got out of the pool on a windy day.  (I get goose bumps just thinking about it.)  It’s hard for you – or the cormorant – to stay warm while wet.  So that’s why you often see cormorants with their wings spread wide open in the sunshine – all the better to dry their feathers.
 

 

Our next Bird Hike is scheduled at Towsley Canyon on Saturday, March 17 from 8-10 AM. Towsley Canyon is located on the Old Road, west of I-5 and about 1/4 mile south of the Calgrove exit.

 

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

 

For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.

 

To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to http://www.hometownstation.com/or tune in to AM 1220.