A proposed mass killing of double-crested cormorants on Point Pelee National Park’s Middle Island may force a significant number of the birds to disperse to neighbouring islands in Lake Erie, warns an environmental group.
Such a dispersal could cause the birds to start living on previous uncolonized islands, says Barry Kent MacKay, a representative for Cormorant Defenders International. However, new islands likely to be colonized by the birds may be inhabited by humans.
“There’s widespread, irrational hatred of cormorants,” says MacKay. “Since culling on Middle Island may force birds elsewhere, then even people who dislike cormorants should be against the cull.”
Cormorants, once facing near extinction in the late 20th century have rebounded to such a degree that they are now blamed for damaging islands due to their excrement, and reducing fish stocks.