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Cormorant wing drying

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Old Friday 30th July 2010, 20:23   #1
George Hogg
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Cormorant wing drying

Anyone recall the research which concluded cormorants in"scarecrow"position are not drying their wings as widely believed?
Apparently they are generating muscle heat to compensate for the chilling effect of cold fish in their bellies.
I recall the researchers fed the birds fish of varying temperatures.
Birds fed warm fish never "dried" their wings.
It seems this research has been forgotten ,as the old myth of birds drying their wings is still widely accepted.....George H
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Old Friday 30th July 2010, 22:27   #2
G Anderson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Hogg View Post
Anyone recall the research which concluded cormorants in"scarecrow"position are not drying their wings as widely believed?
Apparently they are generating muscle heat to compensate for the chilling effect of cold fish in their bellies.
I recall the researchers fed the birds fish of varying temperatures.
Birds fed warm fish never "dried" their wings.
It seems this research has been forgotten ,as the old myth of birds drying their wings is still widely accepted.....George H

Sounds very fishy, George ! (sorry, couldn't resist ! ),

So Cormorants wings are waterproof, or not ? Warm fish = no strectching of wings ? Can this be true ?

Cheers G
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Old Saturday 31st July 2010, 00:01   #3
timwootton
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Very interesting.
But what about the cooling effects of the northern waters in which they spend much of their time?
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Old Saturday 31st July 2010, 04:11   #4
winkle
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I too heard about this research sometime ago, but cannot remember where.

I seem to remember that they also face into the sun as the extra warmth aids digestion of their cold meal.
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Old Saturday 31st July 2010, 06:23   #5
fugl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Hogg View Post
Anyone recall the research which concluded cormorants in"scarecrow"position are not drying their wings as widely believed?
Apparently they are generating muscle heat to compensate for the chilling effect of cold fish in their bellies.
I recall the researchers fed the birds fish of varying temperatures.
Birds fed warm fish never "dried" their wings.
It seems this research has been forgotten ,as the old myth of birds drying their wings is still widely accepted.....George H
Here’s some recent research in support of the wing-drying theory, so I don’t think it can be fairly dismissed as a “myth” just yet:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/j...TRY=1&SRETRY=0

Last edited by fugl : Saturday 31st July 2010 at 06:37.
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Old Saturday 31st July 2010, 19:09   #6
George Hogg
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Sorry Fugl,wasn't able to open your link.
I was reminded of the cold fish theory after watching a cormorant swallow a particularly large flounder after many attempts.
The bird then swam straight to a rock and began a very long session of rapidly trembling it's outstretched wings.
Tim,northern waters or not(this is Scotland)fish are cold blooded(I think)and birds are warm blooded so I would expect quite a difference in core temperatures.
I am still much more convinced of the cold fish theory than the wing drying theory.
...George
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Old Sunday 1st August 2010, 04:37   #7
fugl
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Sorry Fugl,wasn't able to open your link.
Sorry about the link, which no longer works for me either. But here’s a link to another article summarizing research supporting the wing-drying theory:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...t-1582972.html
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Old Sunday 1st August 2010, 05:01   #8
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That's actually really interesting, I always thought it was a method to dry their wings. Then again, why can't it be a bit of both? It doesn't have to be one or the other.
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Old Sunday 1st August 2010, 09:49   #9
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Thanks for the new link Fugl.
Queries I have with it are_can cormorants surfacing without fish be assumed to have failed to catch.Are smaller fish not eaten during diving and could not a cormorant in a shoal of small fish consume several fish before surfacing?
Also it seems extended wings were discounted as a means of cooling the bird whereas my suspicion is it is used as a means of heating the abdomen,particularly when used in conjunction with rapid wing trembling...George
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Old Sunday 1st August 2010, 14:34   #10
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Thanks for the new link Fugl.
Queries I have with it are_can cormorants surfacing without fish be assumed to have failed to catch.Are smaller fish not eaten during diving and could not a cormorant in a shoal of small fish consume several fish before surfacing?
Also it seems extended wings were discounted as a means of cooling the bird whereas my suspicion is it is used as a means of heating the abdomen,particularly when used in conjunction with rapid wing trembling...George
Interesting point about the “swallowing several small fish underwater” possibility. On the basis of what I’ve read so far, however, it seems to me that the balance of the evidence is still in favor of drying as the principal—but not necessarily the only—function of wing stretching.
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Old Sunday 1st August 2010, 17:01   #11
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I've seen new world vultures (Black, Turkey) also hold their wings spread in similar fashion on occasion. They are not diving birds of course, so at least for them wing drying is an unlikely explanation.

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Old Sunday 1st August 2010, 18:43   #12
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my belief is that they shake their wings to dry them , being a very old, (but successful) species. cp Frigatebirds
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Old Monday 2nd August 2010, 19:39   #13
George Hogg
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I've seen new world vultures (Black, Turkey) also hold their wings spread in similar fashion on occasion. They are not diving birds of course, so at least for them wing drying is an unlikely explanation.

Best,
Jim
Hi Jim,Now you mention it I have often seen Marabou Storks do it in Africa i.e standing scarecrow fashion for long periods after feeding with vultures on a big cat kill.The reason would definitely not be wing drying in that circumstance......George
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Old Wednesday 4th August 2010, 22:12   #14
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What do they do on cold or rainy days?

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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 02:15   #15
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Apart from Africa, have you seen Shags 'wing-drying' ?

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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 03:02   #16
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That's actually really interesting, I always thought it was a method to dry their wings. Then again, why can't it be a bit of both? It doesn't have to be one or the other.
It might be both. I noticed them after spending the day in the water, perching on a rock in the late afternoon. I assumed they were drying their wings before nighttime.

Frank Lardino
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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 22:32   #17
George Hogg
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Apart from Africa, have you seen Shags 'wing-drying' ?

G
Not certain whether I have,but it doesn't ring any bells.
If they don't it would seem strange unless they are not as closely related to cormorants as we assume.
As regards the cormorant theory, the fact that the flight muscles,either side of the sternum practically enclose the crop would make the use of these muscles to heat crop contents a sensible proposition?...g
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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 22:39   #18
George Hogg
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It might be both. I noticed them after spending the day in the water, perching on a rock in the late afternoon. I assumed they were drying their wings before nighttime.

Frank Lardino
I still think I have often seen cormorants holding out their wings in bad weather and sea conditions when the chance of them drying is nil,in fact they are more likely to get wetter!
Still sticking with the theory they are trying to counter the chilling effect of cold fish in their crops .....g
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Old Thursday 5th August 2010, 23:23   #19
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I still think I have often seen cormorants holding out their wings in bad weather and sea conditions when the chance of them drying is nil,in fact they are more likely to get wetter!
Still sticking with the theory they are trying to counter the chilling effect of cold fish in their crops .....g
But surely warming crop or stomach contents wouldn’t work in wet & stormy conditions either, particularly if wind chill is taken into account?
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