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  • Writer's pictureTerry Wise

Our “Submersibles” Return to Carillon Stonegate Pond

Ever walk along the Carillon Stonegate ponds and thought you saw a black “duck”, but it was no longer there. Perhaps it was just the sun and shadows playing with your mind.

 


And, yet a minute later, that black “duck” reappears on the surface of the pond!


The Double-crested Cormorant is a fascinating bird that can be found at Carillon Stonegate Ponds. It is a prehistoric-looking bird with a matte-black body and yellow-orange facial skin. They have small heads and long, kinked necks, and they float low in the water with their thin neck and bill raised. The double-crest on their head is only visible during breeding season.


These birds are approximately 32 inches in length, weigh around 4 pounds, and have a wingspan of about 4 feet. Unlike ducks, their feathers are not very waterproof, which allows them to sink and dive more efficiently. Their feathers get waterlogged, making them excellent divers. However, this adaptation makes their flight patterns quite awkward, and they have the highest energy cost of any flying bird.


The Double-crested Cormorant's fishing technique is impressive. They dive and chase fish underwater using their webbed feet (see photos) and sometimes their wings. They can dive to depths of 25 feet and usually fish in the mid- to upper-tiers of ponds or lakes. Their diving excursions typically last around 30 seconds before they resurface. They have a hook-shaped tip on their upper bill, which helps them catch prey.


These birds primarily feed on fish, which is why they enjoy the well-stocked fish market at Carillon Stonegate Ponds. They are often seen alone in the middle of the ponds, diving for fish. Or roosting on that beaver-fallen tree setting on the north shore of the west pond. During the winter months, they migrate to the southern and southeastern United States.


The Carillon at Stonegate community is fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest, and prairie environments that attract a diverse range of birds and wildlife. The community and the Kane County Forest Preserve work together to maintain this natural environment for the benefit of both the wildlife and the residents. Exploring these habitats can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to observe and identify different species of birds and wildlife.

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