I read with horror your words in your “Cormorants: Cool dinosaur descendents but we don’t need so many of them” editorial on Nov. 21. It’s hard to ignore the choice of words used to describe cormorants; “hunched-shoulders,” “inner-pterodactyl”, “menacing”, “revolting.” Really, do you hate this bird that much?

    If you had spent some “up close” time with cormorants that are not being harassed or flying from bullets and sure death, you would find them to be very curious, pretty darn smart, adaptive and resilient. Besides, they can be outright, unabashed comical creatures! But being creatures, of course, they eat. Many fish types, sometimes salmon. That’s their lethal mistake. Recently sitting at a dinner party, I listened as a sports fisherman described every bird species as “a problem” to be “eliminated.” He spared no species and he was very serious.

    At some point we just have to ask, “Can we co-exist or do we blast every avian species off the face of our waters in the name of better fish runs, better limits and better money. I am at that point.

    Your editorial was generated by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer’s environmental impact statement per managing cormorants on East Sand Island. Using loaded words to describe the birds yet softened words to describe man’s cruel harassment and outright killing gains the general public’s support. But where is the real story?

    The corps has expanded/ built islands from their Columbia River dredging spoils since the 1980s. For 30 years now. As bird species find these islands, they find nesting sites. Thousands of birds have been harassed during nesting season (“nuanced efforts to control reproduction”) or killed (“straightforward population control or cull”) first from Rice Island, then Sand Island and now East Sand Island. Meanwhile, the Corps built seven costly “swamp” islands in “inland” waters of Oregon and Northern California to lure the birds away from the Columbia River where, incidentally, flooding/drought have contributed to re-location nesting failures. This is cruel wildlife roulette that doesn’t work at a cost of millions and millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

    But it’s not just the corps and it’s not just here. They work across this country with federal and state wildlife agencies, universities and researchers. Over a period of years, these groups have killed thousands of birds in the name of better fish run. It is a ghastly, inhumane sight. Just to get a high ball guesstimate of salmon consumed involved killing thousands of bird to analyze the gut.

    Now really. Pick one bird species as the latest scapegoat that, once eliminated, will solve the fish runs? In the past decade, it was terns. Today, it’s cormorants. Corps is now hinting that brown and white pelicans “have an impact on salmon.” Is the next round pelicans? When does it stop? What is enough fish?

    Be assured. Fishermen will encourage the Corps to act. Editorials like in the Chinook Observer feed that. Cormorants have no voice. But you do. Visit http/tinyurl.com/9ycx3pr, find “Draft Benefits Analysis (2011)” and comment by Dec. 21.

Ellen Anderson

Ocean Park

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