As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Bird swallowed by giant 'glory hole' reportedly lives to fly another day

Witness says cormorant survived the plunge into a 200-foot-deep vortex in a California reservoir
Erin McCormick in San Francisco
Wed 6 Mar 2019 20.49 GMT Last modified on Thu 7 Mar 2019 20.20 GMT
What happens when a small bird is swallowed by a gaping vortex?
The fate of the unassuming-looking waterfowl was the subject of anguished debate Wednesday as video surfaced of the animal disappearing into a 200ft-deep tube in a dammed reservoir in northern California.
When water in Lake Berryessa is high enough, it spills into the 72ft-diameter drain, nicknamed the Glory Hole, and is funneled 18 stories down, into a creek below the dam. Recent heavy rains have meant the hole has seen plenty of action, and the creek, which is normally about 25ft wide, now looks like a mighty river, spanning a width of about 1,000ft, said Rick Fowler, the Lake Berryessa water resources manager.
Such circumstances do not bode well for the bird, which was pronounced a duck by online commentators.
“From what I understand, that water is going down really fast and when things come out the other side … I don’t want to get really graphic,” said Brionna Ruff, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the glory hole, known as the Morning Glory spillway, in an article on SFGate.
Fowler, who made the video and has worked at the lake for 11 years, had a different story to tell.
He told the Guardian he was taking a video of the hole when the bird, which he said was actually a cormorant, suddenly appeared in the frame, floating near the opening. After seeing the bird disappear down the hole, Fowler said, he ran to the edge of the dam.
“Thwack – it shot out of there like a bullet,” he said. “It looked like a rag doll – like it was dead.”

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