Enormous cormorant roost comes back on Cape Cod

Roost of hundreds or thousands of Double-crested Cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus, on Cedar Pond, near Route 6’s Orleans rotary.

One of the most striking wildlife sites on Cape Cod is one locals hate: a spectacular  cormorant roost on electric wires over Cedar Pond near Orleans.

You pass the roost just south of the Orleans rotary on Route 6, Cape Cod’s main highway, and it turns your head. Cormorants are big, loud and chatty. And the roost just keeps on going as you drive.

Wayne Petersen, who manages the important bird areas for Mass Audubon, says that neighbors had tried to get rid of it, but apparently gave up. “You can imagine the chloroform count in that pond,” he says. The problem isn’t the sight or sound, but the smell of the guano.

Back in 1999, residents got a permit to scare the migratory birds off by firing pyrotechnics, the Cape Cod Times says. They were still missing in 2004, according to Bird Watchers General Store, which says the stink from the pond was “so vile that even a black lab wouldn’t roll in it.”

If you think you’re seeing more cormorants now than you did growing up, you’re right. This Cape Cod roost is one of many that have popped up along the coast–with similar results. People wiped out the birds in the 1800s. Fishermen still view them as competition. And some people just find their stooped neck sunning kinda creepy. But Mass Audubon says the birds, absent as recently

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Crows love Cape Cod

Crows thrive on Cape Cod, especially in the winter, when thousands live on the Cape, then roost on Martha’s Vineyard. Bostonians can see roosts in Roxbury and Shopper’s World.

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Bats in or near Kruger in South Africa

Fruit bats roost Skukuza Camp in Kruger National Park/ By Zypresse Ulrike Loehr

Even in South Africa, where they’ve got some of the best wildlife-viewing on the planet, tourists and locals are still entertained by their bats. Ngwenya Lodge, which backs up against Kruger National Park, has built a number of bat houses. In Kruger itself Skukuza Camp has a roost for fruit bats.

“We have put up a number of bat houses on the property that are mostly occupied by Angolan and Little Freetail bats,” Brian Whiting, a director of the lodge told me in an email. “Some may be occupied by Giant yellow house bats,”

They don’t do tours, but they don’t need to since they’ve already figured out what time the bats leave their roost at different times of year.

The lodge also gets Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bats, but those don’t live in houses. One study in Kruger showed they especially liked fig and sycamore trees. In Kruger many sleep “under the eaves of the shop,” Siyabona South Africa says.

Bats Gauteng & Northern Regions Bat Interest Group says South Africa has 56 bat species, including four fruit bats. Fruit bats (also known as flying foxes) are the ones tourists like me would be most interested in because they’re huge. South Africans have been building shed-sized bat houses for 50 years, hoping to wipe out mosquitoes and the malaria they carry.

Where to Go See Bats

Where to See Wildlife in

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Vancouver Suburb Burnaby Loves Its Crows

Burnaby Crows by Magalie L’Abbé

When crows pick a town to roost in, locals tend to react badly. They think it’s spooky, worry about guano and try to do ridiculous things to drive them off–like shoot them. But one Canadian city sees it another way. Burnaby, BC, loves its crow roost. Thousands of crows have been sleeping together in the seaside town east of Vancouver since at least the 1970s.

“If you go around dusk they cover the sky,” says Kelsey Downey, marketing coordinator for Tourism Burnaby. “I used to go to school right in the area and it’s a pretty amazing site.” Continue reading Vancouver Suburb Burnaby Loves Its Crows