- Research & Extension
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A low-disturbance technique for capturing specific adult Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) at a ground-nesting colony was developed to reduce risks such as nest failure and colony abandoment which can be entailed by capturing breeding adults of colonially nesting species. Nesting habitat enhancement was used to attract double-crested cormorants to nest adjacent to above-ground tunnels constructed so that researchers could capture birds by hand. Using this technique, double-crested cormorants were captured during the incubation and chick-rearing stages of the nesting cycle. Unlike alternative capture techniques, this approach allowed targeting of specific individuals for capture and recapture, minimized local disturbance, and eliminated colony-wide disturbances. The tunnel-based system presented here could be adapted to capture adults or to access the nest contents of other ground-nesting colonial species.