Aug. 1 - The phenomenal diving ability of South America's Imperial cormorant has been revealed for the first time by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Research Council of Argentina. The team attached a small camera to the back of a bird then watched in amazement as it plunged 150 feet underwater in 40 seconds to feed on the sea floor. Rob Muir reports.
The bobbing head of an Imperial cormorant as it pumps its feet and dives deep into the ocean in search of food. The camera strapped to its back provides an unprecedented view of just how far this bird will go for a good meal. The camera was attached by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Research Council of Argentina who want to identify the birds' prime feeding spots in order to protect them. The scientists say they were stunned by what they saw. It took just 40 seconds for the bird to swim 150 feet straight down to the sea floor. Then the hunt for food begins. The cormarant spends 80 seconds swimming across the sea-floor looking for dinner. And then dinner swims by and with the fish firmly secured, the cormorant returns to the surface. It's the first time scientists have been able to observe first-hand the feeding techniques of the Imperial cormorant off the coast of Argentina. The camera is one of several hi-tech tools they are using to learn about the birds and their feeding habits with the ultimate goal of protecting them. Rob Muir, Reuters.