Your Wildlife Habitat

Living With Cormorants

The double-crested cormorant is an aquatic bird that lives off fish and is found throughout the Great Lakes region. Like the wild turkey, it was almost extinct in Ontario but it has now made a huge come-back. It is also a very sociable bird that nests in colonies. In addition to eating the fish that commercial and recreational fishers want, cormorants strip the leaves from the trees in which they roost and their droppings kill vegetation on the ground, eventually killing the nest tree.

Anglers and lakeside landowners who are most impacted feel that the cormorant population is out of control and have urged the government to perform an organized cull, which it has in the past on public property. The culling operations, however, have had very little effect on the overall populations. Meanwhile, environmentalists object strongly to any proposals to cull the population, preferring to let nature find its own balance. At present, it is illegal to hunt cormorants under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, but landowners are permitted to kill cormorants on their own property if they are causing damage under the authority of Section 31 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has information on its website called Living with Cormorants.