The double-crested cormorant is a unique bird. It is so rare that I had never seen one before a couple of days ago.
The bird landed on the pond, and although it swam around like a Duck, I knew it wasn’t.
I saw a long beak that reminded me of a Blue heron, only smaller. The difference is that herons have long legs and tend to walk around the water’s edge in search of food.
This bird, however, would ‘duck’ under the water and come up with some food to eat. It may have been a frog, fish or plant; I could not tell.
I observed the bird getting tangled in the weeds and almost drowning.
It was sailing around for quite some time elegantly and completely controlled until it got tied up.
Immediately it started squirming and panicking.
It seemed as if it was going to drown, and I quickly took off my shoes and socks to go save it.
The bird was gone when I was ready to jump in. With a heavy heart, I thought the bird had drowned in front of my very eyes.
Seconds later, the bird reappeared fifty feet from where I last spotted it.
The bird kept going under the water and coming back up, swimming back and forth, trying to shed itself off the weeds wrapped around its wings.
Although the bird stopped squirming and looked like it had regained control, I could see the grassy weed trailing behind it like an untied shoelace following along awkwardly.
I knew the bird could not fly like this, and it seemed uninterested in making it to a piece of land to do the edge walk characteristic of the heron.
What to do? How to help?
I thought If I got in the kayak and paddled towards it, a couple of things might happen. One, it would panic, and I could grab and untangle it; two, it would forget that it was trapped and fly away furiously.
It was the former and not the latter that ended up happening.
As I paddled toward the bird in a game of cat and mouse that lasted almost an hour, the bird would duck under the water and reappear somewhere else.
One of the times the bird went under, it came up without the weed.
With my part in the rescue complete, I took the kayak out of the water and retreated to the edge of the woods to watch this beautiful bird wade in the water.
The bird tried to fly away but would only get 20 feet before landing on the water again.
I was unsure if the bird was still impaired, or perhaps it was a baby (a considerable baby) just learning to fly and did not yet know how to travel at height or distance.
The bird decided to get out of the water and sunbathe on the dock. The way the birds basked in the sun was remarkable and angelic.
In an attractive display of beauty rarely seen, it would open its wings to dry off and, in doing so, puff out its chest, suggesting strength and grace simultaneously.
It reminded me of the American eagle on the U.S dollar bill.
Just as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Moving on to the next pond or pasture. It didn’t make a noise like the Canada geese when it flew, but like the ones we loved the most that have moved on, its beauty remains long after its departure.