Reading out back yesterday afternoon, I looked up to see a dark bird soaring high above our Littleton farm. Since similar past sightings turned out to be a golden eagle or a Swainson's hawk, I grabbed my binoculars for a closer look. To my surprise, the aerialist was a double-crested cormorant and his circular flight, with no apparent destination, continued for twenty minutes.
Usually observed flying low at rapid speed (when not resting on limbs, docks or channel markers or diving for fish in bays or lakes) cormorants are not generally included on a list of soaring birds; members of that group include eagles, vultures, cranes, buteos, kites, frigatebirds, gulls, pelicans and albatrosses, among others.
Indeed, often maligned as a "fish crow," the cormorant is not a stately bird. Perhaps, like many humans, yesterday's high flier needed to boost his self esteem; mimicking a golden eagle is certainly one way to achieve that goal! Then again, if you're equipped with wings and have the ability to soar high above scenic Colorado on a beautiful spring day, why not?