How Many People Does It Take…

… to feed a cormorant?

On the eve of Thanksgiving, a double-crested cormorant was found on a road in Springfield, VT — certainly no place for a waterbird. The bird was likely struck by a car, given the signs of head trauma and the internal bleeding. The cormorant is slightly thin and has wounds on both his right wing and foot.

Although the bird is more vibrant and active than when he first arrived at VINS, he is still struggling to recover. We’re currently feeding the cormorant a fish slurry, which entails blending a whole fish in the blender and straining out the large bones (yuck!). It makes for a pretty stinky task for staff here to do, but it’s a nutritious and appropriate meal for this fish-loving bird. The bird is still too weak to eat on his own, so tube-feeding him slurry is the way to go.

In the above photo, Wildlife Services staff handles the cormorant to tube-feed him. Below, Americorps member Jessamy Schwartz holds the bird for his injection of vitamin K.

Tubing this guy can be challenging. He’s got a long, wiggly neck that writhes around when we try to place a tube into it, so we often find it takes three people to get the job done: one to hold the bird, another to hold open the beak and control the neck, and a third to do the actual tubing. Watch staff tube-feed the cormorant in our video.

In time, we hope to start feeding the cormorant his diet of choice — live, whole fish — and eventually get him healthy and back to his home on the water.

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