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Posted by
: Helen : (Helen is photographing in, Australia) on 1 December 2006 in Animal & Insect.

Cormorant on duty Lake Erhai, China

I am always amazed by sense of the pride radiating from this cormorant. He always tried to sit close to his owner, like a figure-head, on his boat .

I was happy to see that the fisherman loved his birds and treated them with care and affection. Consequently they spent quite a deal of time vying for his attention.

FUJIFILM FinePix S5500 1/350 second F/5.0 ISO 64 23 mm

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Matt Trujillo Photography from Portland, United States

Beautiful and disturbing image. Forgive my tree-hugging naiveté, but is this bird pierced through it's breast with a retainer or harness of some sort? I understand that people domesticate animals, I just wasn't aware of this particular relationship.

3 Dec 2006 2:28am

@Matt Trujillo Photography: Nothing that sinister Matt. It is simply a loose loop that is slipped over the bird's head to keep him in the boat when the fisherman changes position, so he won't get lost. (You can't see it all as iit is hidden under the plumage.) The fisherman slips it off and the bird is free to go at will when they stop to go fishing.
I am glad I went out with this fisherman because I always thought using cormorants to fish was rather cruel. I thought they had a noose around their neck that did not allow them to feed. In reality these birds were this man's working pets. They craved and got lots of his affection. The bird does have a collar around its neck (you cannot see it) that allows him to swallow fish but does not allow him to swallow quite large fish. These he happily regurgitates for the fisherman in exchange for a smaller fish and a cuddle. I am sure not all are as kind to their animals as this fisherman was. Unfortunately this is so for many pets.

Anup P from Bangalore, India

Lovely shot

19 Apr 2007 11:08am