Bill to Allow the Killing of Nuisance Bird
Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:39:28 EST
A bill in the U.S. House could lead to population control efforts of a northern Michigan bird considered a nuisance.
The double-crested cormorant is a large migratory bird that is known to decimate the fish population in the Great Lakes.
State and federal efforts to control the cormorant population in Michigan began in 2004 by killing adult birds and covering eggs with oil to smother developing chicks. But last year a federal judge ruled the program violated the National Environmental Policy Act.
Efforts have been made in Northeast Michigan to control the cormorant population. Each adult cormorant eat an average of one pound of fish per day, which is typically comprised of small (less than 6 inch) size classes. They are opportunistic and generalist feeders, preying on many species of fish, but concentrating on those that are easiest to catch.
Research studies in New York at Oneida Lake and eastern Lake Ontario and in Michigan at northern Lake Huron provide evidence that predation by summer resident and migrating cormorants has impacted sport fish populations.
Legislation has been presented authorizing Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to allow Michigan and other states to resume "responsible cormorant management activities".