Magellanic Cormorants are sea birds living in the frigid waters of the southern ocean and are found from southern Chile down through the Beagle Channel to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia Argentina.
I was thrilled to find a colony of nesting birds and settled in for some telephoto shooting.
I don’t believe in disturbing nesting birds, and always watch them from a non-intrusive distance.
And then this happened! These curious humans arrived by boat, got way too close, took photos with their cell phones, and panicked the birds.
All the parents understandably flew off in terror as soon as the humans got so close, exposing incubating eggs and unfledged chicks to the elements.
You can see one very brave parent remained, until even this last hold-out, got frightened by the persistent humans and flew away.
The fledglings scrambled together terrified,
as I watched all this, completely appalled.
I am however, very pleased to report a happy ending to this sad tale. The humans eventually left, the frightened parents cautiously returned, and the colony resumed peaceful functioning. You can see the mother’s settling back on their nests. The chicks were very lucky that hungry giant petrels, skuas or gulls didn’t find them in such a vulnerable state.
So thankfully, it’s cheers to you, from the very frightened birdies (and photographer)~
257 thoughts on “Nesting Magellanic Cormorants & Chicks~”
We humans have a tendency to disturb nature. We are like elephants in a china store. Great pictures.
Exactly! Living in harmony is not our strong suit.
Great pictures, Cindy!
Thank & very pleased you enjoyed!
Wow! I’am completely amazed. The report is absolutely wonderful,
I’m sorry, Cindy,
Thanks so much Isabel & have a wonderful day my friend~
These are really great, and I love the one of the hen sitting on the eggs! 😃
Mama birds are such loving and wonderful mothers!
They really are. Nature at its finest. 😊😊
Superb as ever. I like the penultimate one best
Thank you so much. I do like saving the best for last!
It’s great; Cindy!
These are awesome photos, thank you for sharing, Cindy. 🙂
Thank you more for appreciating them & cheers Ranu <3
Your pictures are excellent. What a shame about the fools who went so close as to frighten the birds at such an important time.
Thank you Thomas & be well my friend~
Your photos are always proof enough, Cindy, that it’s a great privilege to live on this planet!
Awwww, so kind and so appreciated too!
Those poor birds! The stupid humans should know better. thanks for sharing your amazing photos. I’m glad all turned out well in the end.
If it had turned out differently it would have been so distressing. Birds are such devoted parents.
I wonder how a human would feel if a bird got up close and personal while they cared for their child. No common sense. So glad this had a happy ending ❤️
Most people don’t think of other beings they share the planet with in those terms it seems Dorinda. I hope more will – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Exactly! Thank you!
Beautifully stated Dorinda. Thank you!
Thank you, for being kind and understanding to the animals. <3
I wouldn’t have thought any bird would nest so close to humans. Very interesting photos.
Well the birds didn’t intentionally do that. This was a vacant pier piling in the middle of a bay. These people pulled up in their boat.
Unfortunately, human beings, somehow seem to have lost common sense!! Thank you very much for this instructive post.:) Very best regards Martina
I agree Martina and thank you!
I am also appalled by the lack of sensitivity people displayed while being so close to the nesting area. Great story and post!
I see this sort of thing too often. The worst was an entire family petting wild buffalo in Yellowstone for a selfie.
Amazing birds! Lovely pictures. The last pictures portrays the peace on their faces!
Honestly, if I hadn’t seen the parents return, I would have remained quite upset.
I am so happy for the happy ending to what I know were anxious moments for you as you watched at what was happening. This reminds me of a scripture in Psalm 84:3 that says, “Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young…” What an illustration of the love and wonders God gives us in his created beings. 🙂
What a beautiful passage! Thank you so much for sharing it with me and blessing to you my friend <3
Your welcome, and thank you. Be blessed also, my friend. 🙂 I always love seeing your nature and animal photos because it is always a reminder of why we are so blessed and inriched in our lives to have such beautiful creatures to enjoy and care for on this earth.
ignorance of men. glad the adults came back.,
You and me both! <3
So glad there was a happy outcome. Some people just don’t think. Wonderful photos.
I think sometimes there is an underestimation of the feelings of animals.
I totally agree.
Ecotourism at its best and worst.
So well put! <3
Almost a tragedy. Well captured Cindy 💛
Thank you Val & cheers to you my friend <3
Great pictures. We don’t always use the brains we’ve been given. I love how shiny the feathers are!
It is wonderful to observe nesting birds, from a distance!
I was happy to read the happy ending of this story. Your photos are just amazing!
You are very kind & most appreciated too!
Very neat photos. I hope the mama bird at least, came back quickly as the boat went away. Nice to have such clear and close photographs though.
I was particularly concerned about the unfledged chicks.
Yah I would be too, awe.
Sometimes we don’t realize the unintended consequences of our actions. I’m glad that all returned to normal.
Exactly. Thank you Leslie.
Cindy did you notice your were tagged for a fun project? I don’t have URL with me but it is in post, Behind the Illness in 4’s. No pick 11 people, just four. I hope you enjoy. I’m excited to learn more about you. I also have a project to discuss in another email about my new Blog site, fortheloveofart.blog. I hope you have a short time to participate.
Thanks for the heads up. I will check it out later today.
I hope you play along, it’s good clean fun and very short to do. 🙂
Awesome pictures, Cindy. I have never understood why humans can’t leave nesting animals alone! Thanks for sharing!
It is so important. Bird parents put such intense efforts into raising their young.
That is so true Cindy.
Interesting post and great pictures 🙂
Thank you and very pleased you enjoyed~
Wonderful photos. How can people be so insensitive!
I often wonder exactly this.
Fabulous pictures, Cindy. What are they nesting on?
It was some sort of free standing pier platform in the bay that probably very rarely gets used. I am guessing it only gets used during three months or so a year during the southern summer and even then, rarely.
I’ve had a special fondness for cormorants ever since I read Scott O’Dell’s book, Island of the Blue Dolphins, to my class many years ago. The woman in that book was stranded on the island for many years and made herself a skirt of cormorant feathers. Apparently that skirt is still kept in a museum at the Santa Barbara Mission in California. The story is fiction but it is based on a real woman who was rescued from the Channel Islands and is now buried at the Mission. I haven’t gone to see if the cormorant feather skirt is really there, but it added a nice touch to the story.
Your photos are beautiful. Love this post.
I know that book so well, having read and re-read it so many times as a kid. I was enraptured by the book, by the illustrations and the whole amazing concept as living alone ib a island in my own hand built enclosure with my feral dog Rantu, my feral bird, keeping an eye out for the Aluets and I remember very well what the cormorant skirt looked like in the sketch. I met the author years later as an adult briefly at a party in the town where I was born and grew up. Synchronistic that you should mention this book!
I would LOVE to have met him. Too late now as I see that he has passed away. So cool that we both have a love for this book and the concepts in it.
I love your photos and your message to give wild animals and birds their space.
Amen & thank you!
Really cool pics and story Cindy. Thanks for sharing. Gary
Very pleased you enjoyed & cheers to you my friend~
Cindy. you just can’t fix Stupid! Stuff like this makes me angry. I’m glad the birds and babies are okay now, and I hope they’ll be safe from here on out!
It was so frustrating to watch this and be able to do nothing. It reminded me a little bit of the of the feelings engendered by Hitchcock’s film, ‘Rear Window.’
Fantastic photos and a story with both a happy ending and a lesson. BTW, what are the nests made of?
Everything the birds can scavenge including plastic and some latex gloves!
Very interesting! The nests are so white.
Their droppings form a shield of white dry hardened material almost like clay that hold the nest together.
Fascinating, yet makes perfect sense. Not something we would see here in New England. Thank you, Cindy. 🙂
Thank you more for such kind comments.
Greats shots Cindy
Glad you enjoyed & thank you Eunice <3
WHEW!!!! What the he** is wrong with humans? So many have no regard for life. Selfish little b&%#ar^s! No wonder we need zoo habitats and the such! Sigh! Uch!!
Oh, and how about the new “Likes” scroll. Just another not broken thing WordPress fixed! Poo!
I haven’t heard about the changes to the likes. It’s probably better I don’t find out!! And yes, I wish people would be more sensitive and considerate around wild creatures.
It may have been a 2 day glitch on WP. It was the weirdest to see all the heads scrolling by!
Ah, humans… most are so unconscious, alas.
A fine photographic tale, Cindy. Glad it ended well.
It would have been terrible, if it ended differently, and it so easily could have, with all the predators around and considering the weather.
They shouldn’t have gone too close and just observed from a safe distance. Great pictures but it’s sad those men disturbed the nesting birds 😕
Yes. Thank you for caring.
Really cool indeed!
Bird parents are so impressive and so dedicated. Humans could learn………
You capture so many interesting and gorgeous things! Wow that is so crazy! So glad they came back
I just found your comment in my spam filter! Thank you Lyn & cheers to you my friend~
OMG! They are so photogenic. Lovely pictures, Cindy… 🙂
Ahhh, thank you and happy you enjoyed the 🐤🐤
Ignorant humans just…..don’t……think (that their actions are counterproductive to the existence of the local birdlife). Thank goodness there are some of us nature lovers and environmentalists around to counter their thoughtless actions.
Good to hear the humans left relatively quickly and the Cormorants were left in peace.
Yes, I was especially alarmed for the incubating eggs and featherless chicks due to the cold weather. There was a period after the boat left and I was watching and the giant petrels were in the sky and this was also a worry. Human beings cause such ripple effects by our actions…..
This seems to me sometimes our curiosity could cause harm to others even in the act of just observed too closely as this case. You are very thoughtful!
So are you my friend and I appreciate you very much for this! 🐤🐤
So disappointed in humans ONCE AGAIN! I guess when you believe you are the only thing that’s important you don’t have to take others into consideration. Your pictures are amazing and so very beautiful. I’m so relieved that the ending was a happy one.
I will confess to freaking out while it was going down. I had been watching them for awhile and was so impressed with the couple sharing of responsibilities and the general dedication of bird parents, mama rolling her eggs, papa inspecting when he flew in. All so very bird like, and then this happened. And I had to sit there and watch while they tramped up the ladder with the parents were gone. It was like a scary movie. I had to wait and see the parents come back before I could relax.
Superb documentary photography on MC & Chicks, my friend! ⊹⋛♡(•ө•)⋋(◐⊝◑)⋌(•ө•)♡⋚⊹
What is wrong with people? Glad the adults returned to the best. Those waters are the deepest blue.
Pristine clean arctic ocean, so different to the more polluted California ocean I am used to.
People can be so inconsiderate. I’m glad things turned out okay. 🙂
Yes, we can be, and we often don’t realize it.
Their experience was so important, took out their cell phones, snapped away and left them open to harm. Ugh. No common sense.
Yes, thank you for knowing. I was super upset by this. But I don’t want this to be anything about how these people were bad. They appreciated the baby birds. We humans can all so easily be bad, when we don’t reflect on, or know what we are doing. This is something that affects all of us everyday, in all our interactions, and often we don’t know it.
Some people are thoughtless … And even the southern oceans are already polluted by plastic and the birds use it for nest building. But, of cause, not as bad as in other regions. But still bad and dangerous for the young birds…
Yes. Thank you for noticing. The waters are still pristine, but the plastic is so ubiquitous. It is one of our many negative lasting legacies on this planet.
I love Cormorants (we have a British version). They always seem very Medieval. The sort of bird you’d see drawn in an 11th century manuscript. What really stupid people, by the way.
Yes, I would love to see such a manuscript! It would be so beautifully done in the margins. The chicks especially look even more ancient to me, like dinosaurs. I know they have cormorants in Egypt and can envision them in ancient Egyptian art as well.
I didn’t know that they were in Egypt too. Off course many birds we in the UK think of British actually spend the winters in Africa.
Medieval manuscripts are full of wonderful illustrations of the natural world – this might me one, although it does look a little like a duck!
Egyptians too were keen observers of the natural world too
I can’t believe you found a cormorant in Egyptian art! Bravo! I had a memory of seeing one once, but I searched and couldn’t find any, so kudos to you and thank you too! I love the artwork that is such an essential part of those old manuscripts. We have lost quite a lot of artisanship and attention to beauty with ‘progress’ haven’t we. 🐦
Yes, I think its because we are all in such a hurry these days.
Phew – so relieved this had a happy ending. What are people like? 😱
Maybe we need to spend more time as as individuals and as a species, considering the effects of our actions, great and small.
100% agree – there are so many reasons why a change in approach is urgently needed.
Great photos and documentation of how humans can unwittingly interfere with wildlife. It’s too bad that there was no one there to explain to those people how their actions were impacting the birds.
Yes, I didn’t sense they wished to do any harm. I could tell they liked the birds.
Sometimes I am ashamed to be human.
I know exactly how you feel <3
ho! it is a happy end!
Thank God. I would have been devastated if I saw the colony destroyed.
Fascinating bird! Nice photos!
Thanks so much & lovely to meet you!
Such lovely photos. I was saddened to see members of our species interfere with the birds but I’m glad there was a happy ending.
Thank God birds are brave little survivors with very strong parental instincts.
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
Photos of cormorants’ nests and a happy ending by Cindy Knoke.
The 🐦🐦🐦 and I are thankful for your support Patricia <3
Glad that story had a happy ending! Some people can be so clueless….always admire wildlife from a distance!
Yes, it is so important to respect all wildlife’s need for safe viewing distances. This keeps both humans and wildlife safe. You can observe an animal by approaching them very, very slowly, and stop as soon as they show the slightest bit of concern.
Appalling ignorance. So happy the ending was a happy one. Beautiful shots from far away – that is the only possibility.
Yes, thankfully it ended peacefully and thank you Leya for the kind words! 🐦
Wishing you a great weekend!
Visa versa 2U <3
Great photos, Cindy. I can’t decide if the babies are cute, but they certainly are fluffy! 🙂
They look like little dinosaurs don’t they! I was so struck by this.
Yes! I didn’t want to insult them because they’re babies, but they do! Lol
Yes! Thanks. They aren’t cute in a conventional critter way, but they have their own amazing gravitas and ‘endearingness’ as vulnerable dinosaur babies. Laughing……
Glad the moms and dads returned to take care of their chicks. I suspect it made you want to yell at the intruders and/or the boat owner/guide that took them so close. I had an amusing bird encounter this morning, Cindy. I saw a rosy finch fluttering around our door windows. When I walked over it landed on the container I keep sunflower seeds in, and then flew over to the empty bird feeder! Do you think it was all happenstance? 🙂 Anyway, I went out and refilled the feeder. –Curt
That was no happenstance! Birds are incredibly smart and they watch humans in their environments carefully. We get nagged all the time to refill feeders, top off bird baths etc. Hummingbirds are the most blatant naggers and will come right up to my office window and buzz at me directly until I go fill the feeder.
That’s fun, Cindy. And it also speaks to the intelligence of birds. –Curt
Thank you 🐦
Stupid humans. 🙁 I’m glad it had a happy ending.
Yes. Birds are such incredibly high intensity, incredibly devoted parents, it would have been horrible to see it go the other way. At The Holler, the hummers, and other birds will hatch clutch after clutch of young, raise them in this exceedingly frenetic totally devoted way bird parents do. They do this because I supply them with food and birds will nest over and over if there is a steady supply of food. I wonder if I am exhausting them.
Beautiful story with a happy ending! I love the last 2 photos!
Thank you for noticing. I save the best for last in appreciation of the people who take the time to look at all the photos.
A regretful encounter with humans but glad the story had a happy ending! I love the last 2 photos!
I don’t want to paint the humans in a bad way. They were surprised and appreciative of the birds and they seemed very nice people. They just didn’t realize how terrifying they were to the birds.
Aha – So they were just ignorant of the situation – not realizing the potential harm.
The collection is so beautifull.☺
Ahhh, you are so nice 🐣🐣
They seemed to welcome the photographer’s kindness and respect.
Awww, thank you!
Once again–you have beautiful photos in this post!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here are more of Cindy Knoke’s striking and beautiful photographs.
Blogging enables me to meet people like you Charles, who I would never otherwise meet, which explains, entirely, why I so love blogging.
Beautiful photographs. Nature is anazing.
Yes! And nature is us! <3
I wish that more tourists had common sense…and maybe even common decency. That last bit might be too much to ask for though,
Yeah. Honestly. I don’t get it. We’re supposedly a penultimate adaptive species, because we ruin everything? How is this adaptive? Maybe we are a failed species, like dinosaurs, but unlike them, entirely to blame for our own, and every other creatures demise.
There’s no such thing as an ‘ultimate’ or ‘master’ species: calling ourselves that is just a bunch of chest-thumping. You’re right though, in a very short amount of time (geologically speaking) we’ve managed to put ourselves at risk of extinction. The longer it takes us to stop congratulation ourselves on how awesome we are, the greater that risk will become.
Oh, the story breaks my heart. Poor poor birds, and poor fledglings. It will be nice if humans are a little more careful around wildlife.
Yes, it would be nice if humans were a lot more careful around all vulnerable living creatures like wildlife, and our fellow humans too <3
We are so out of touch with the natural world, we don’t even realize a “keep our” moment when we see one. Thanks for these beautiful photos, Cindy.
Thank you for realizing there is such a thing as a ‘keep out moment,’ and cheers to you~
Thanks for spreading the word!👌🏼
I hate cormorants with a passion, as they are an invasive species in the Great Lakes, but I admire your photos. Did you happen to get any of ducks? Argentina has an amazing variety and I wondered what kinds live in Patagonia.
I have arctic geese and related species as well as chicks and much more. Stay tuned. I will be posting many more bird photos. I got an amazing variety. Oh, and very nice to meet you.
Thank you, Inwill keep posted!
Homo sapiens are really so un-wise and stupid… In a blog I wrote called ‘Earth’s greatest treasure’, I used John Aspinall,s wonderful creed about the sanctity of all life, and the damaging belief in the sanctity of human life – he called the wilderness ‘earth’s greatest treasure,’
He was not wrong, and it was so sad to see the wilderness so graphically conveyed in your wonderful photos, invaded by the most destructive species on the planet…
And thank you for all the years of showing us the wonders of the wilderness through your camera and eyes…
I agree so wholeheartedly <3 with everything you say here. Thank you! And thank you for appreciating our fragile and incredibly beautiful world and all her glorious creatures! I will check out John Aspinall. Thanks for the tip. 🐦🐦
alas, I was hoping to see a photograph of these humans being dive-bombed & shat upon by the angry parents.
Birds are more polite than humans! Although I have seen people throw rocks at seagulls and the gulls launched a coordinated attack doing exactly what you describe, just pelting the people with flying revenge. It was great! 🐦🐦
Reblogged this on Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung – Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region!.
Vielen Dank für die Unterstützung der 🐦🐦🐦 und für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit!
Your photographs never cease to amaze me Cindy, so colourful and vibrant with beautiful detail, do you use long range lens, whatever camera you use it is an excellent choice ?
Awww, thank you so much! So kind of you and so appreciated too, and yes, these were taken with full zoom at 1200mm. I used the Sony HX400 which is not a super pricey camera but is an excellent one.
Looks like they just need a flat surface to nest on. -Oscar
This was a strange nesting place in that many cormorant species nest on steep cliffs. But they do also like to nest on things that are surrounded by water which serves a moat like function, as was the case with these birds
I recall when we stayed in Cape Town and hiked out to the peninsula that is at the southern tip. I watched the sea birds (might have been cormorants) flying into nests along the cliffs below us. I felt as if I were going to go swirling off the edge of the viewing area with the winds that they floated on.
Yes, they often nest on super vertical cliffs that are impossible for humans to reach. This was definitely somewhat unusual. Sounds awesome in Cape Town. I love South Africa! Happy Weekend~
OMG! So sad you had to witness this side of the human behavior, completely inconsiderate of the needs of other life forms. But I’m grateful for the happy ending <3
The 🐣🐣🐣 and I are grateful for your concern! <3
Some people just have no consideration or sensitivity for wild life. I’m pleased your story ended happily
The alternative would have terrible to watch.
…happily 4 us too
Great storytelling photos, Cindy.
Ah, thank you & happy Monday!
Such beautiful photos, Cindy. Why/How do people have to be so indifferent and insensitive? It’s very frustrating. It’s like thought and caring have just gone out the window. I’m glad it worked out for the birds. <3
I was very relieved the 🐣🐣🐣 were bit harmed! Have a wonderful week Linda <3
Magnificent closeups Cindy. People can be so stupid sometimes. Glad no little birdies were lost. <3
You and me both! Cheers to you and happy week~
Thanks my friend. 🙂
Those fuzzy little nestlings are so beautiful. How many different types of birds have you photographed Cindy?? It would be fun to count them all up! xox
Oh my gosh! Good question. Too many to count and more are coming!
I’m guessing there’ll be so many more! xo
As they say in Latin American, “Si Dios Quiere.” If God Wishes <3
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
It is Valentine’s Day and we are not the only creatures on the planet whose thoughts turn to romance in the spring. Cindy Knoke has taken some amazing photographs of Magellanic Cormorants in Chile on her trip there. She used a telephoto lens.. however witnessed eejits in a boat with cellphone cameras frightening the birds off their nests. It could have resulted in predators getting the young chicks and eggs. However, thankfully after the twits left the parent birds returned.. I know which species exhibits more common sense… thanks Cindy spectacular as always.
You have such a way with words Sally. Engaging and humorous, while making a rather somber point. This is hard to do! I am so lucky to have you as a virtual friend!
Glad there was a happy ending. The osprey population on La Gomera in the Canary Islands has been reduced to a couple of pairs becuae of intrusive tourists.
Oh that is so very sad. Ospreys are so magnificent. I got some great photos of them in Mexico.
Wonderful pictures 🌺
So very pleased you enjoyed them & cheers to you Laleh <3
So glad there was a happy ending, Cindy. Great photos. 🙂
Thank you, and that makes two of us <3
Gorgeous photos, Cindy! I’m glad the cormorants were able to come back and find their eggs were intact.
Yes. It could have gone the other way easily.
These are incredible closeup captures, Cindy. So glad about the happy ending! 🙂
Ahhh, so happy you enjoyed them Amy and thank you for taking the time to tell me <3
Will we humans ever learn? So good that this had a happy ending.
It seems fairly discouraging doesn’t it……..
I <3 you & your four legged friends!
Some people don’t want to simply appreciate nature, but rather intrude on it! Glad the story had a happy ending!
Yes, I have seen this many times, unfortunately, for both the animals and the humans.
Stunning photos and very glad to learn of the happy ending. Thanks for this 🙂
Awww, thank you more for such a kind comment Christopher & have a wonderful weekend!
I’m glad it ended well. Some people are so out of tune with the animals. I wish they followed your blog 😊.
Awww, that is such a thoughtful thing to say from a very thoughtful person. Thank you!
Oh for a moment my heart got pulsating in anxiety! Thankfully it ended well!! Humans!! 😑😑😑😑😑
Humans have a lot to learn don’t they, and too much time left to do it unfortunately…..
Indeed! And they dont seem to learn!
Sad, but true.
Great word! Thank you & cheers too~