What birds are trained to fish for their masters?

December 31, 2016 | Author: | Posted in Zoology

In China, Japan and other parts of the Orient the large sea birds known as cormorants have been trained to fish for man since time immemorial. These birds display remarkable activity under water and they devour fish so greedily that they have become proverbial for their voracity and gluttony. When young they are easily tamed and can then be taught not only to fish for their masters but also to bring their catch back to a boat. A leather collar is placed around their long necks to keep them from swallowing their catch. In parts of the Orient it is a common sight to see a fisherman on a raft with a flock of cormorants in the water controlled by means of cords attached to their collars. Some cormorants will fish for their masters without such controls. Occasionally if a fish, because of its size, is too much for one cormorant to manage, another of the birds will co-operate in the catch. A single trained cormorant has
been known to catch and deliver to a boat or raft as many as one hundred fish in an hour. The bird can pursue and catch fish below the surface even in muddy water. During the seventeenth century cormorant fishing was introduced into western Europe, and at one time the master of the cormorants was an official in the royal household of England. Cormorants arc almost world-wide in distribution. The white-breasted cormorant is largely responsible for the production of the vast guano deposits on the islands off the coast of Peru.

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