Friday, March 15, 2013

Oran's Story

This is a story about a young cormorant named Oran.  I've named him in honour of "Orange You Glad It's Friday" and I know he was young because his chest was quite white.  I will assume his gender to be "he" to make the narration easier.  There is a little orange in each picture.  Sometimes, the orange is obvious and sometimes, you have to look quite hard for it.

This is a sculpture in False Creek, Vancouver.  It is called Brush with Illumination and the young cormorants seem to consider it their personal space to rest, dry their wings, practice take-offs and landings, and socialize with their peers.  I have seen as many as 15 or so cormorants lined up along its various rails and limbs.
 I noticed Oran coming in for a landing and thought he looked strong and capable.  
 I wondered why he made a few circuits around the sculpture,
 but on about his third time around, he appeared ready to land.
 However, just before he reached his target, his feet dropped in a  most awkward way. 
 That's when I began to wonder if he was either a rank beginner..
 of if there might be something wrong with his feet.
 As he came in, it looked like he might make it..
 but, sadly,
 he seemed to..
 slip right off the railing.
From the photo, it appears he is in control, but in fact, he fell at quite a speed..
 and hit the water so hard that what you see here is his rebound out of the water.
 He was clearly..
 and traumatized.  It took quite a while..
 maybe about five minutes.. before he was ready to try again.
 This time,
he looked strong..
 although that right foot began..
to drop just a bit..
and then, everything fell apart.
 He hit the railing on his bum and slid right past another cormorant whom I shall name Omar.
 Oran kept right on going..
 and hit the water with another resounding splash.
I could see he was really annoyed this time but also very determined.
 He took only about a minute..
 to recover..
 and then he was off again.
 His feet pushed off from the surface with quite a force, but I have seen this before..
 and believed he would make it this time.
 He came in strong and with no apparent awkwardness..
 but remember Omar?  He hadn't appreciated Oran's last landing.

Poor Oran..
 hit the water again..
 although this time, with less of a crash.
 Omar added a few choice words to go with his unfriendly attitude..
 Oran took a look at him.. 

and decided not to push his luck.
 He left, and though I waited a while, he didn't return.
 I admired the nearby crocuses as i returned home, 
 but Oran stayed in my mind.
 Now, the story gets a little hazy and I confess it might be a completely new story.  It took place a few days later.  A young cormorant (on the left) with about the same amount of white on his chest as Oran was on the sculpture when I arrived.  I love to think that Oran returned and was asserting his rights just to be sure Omar (on the right) didn't give him any guff.

There was quite a bit of..
and carrying on..
 while a 3rd cormorant (Ms. Mind My Own Business) watched from the sidelines.
 Omar (left) was insulted and tried to tell his story to Ms. Mind My Own Business.
 She explained the facts of life ("Ya gotta share space, Omar.")..
 and Omar finally agreed, "Yeah, I bow to your experience, Ms. Mind Your Own Business!"
 Oran, meanwhile, settled in his spot, looking back only once as if to say, "This is my space."
 Omar loudly proclaimed his misery to the world, but didn't have much of an audience.
I waited around, hoping to see Oran do a take-off and landing but he stuck to his place with great persistence.  He had landed there successfully, asserted his rights, and he wasn't leaving.  I was content as I walked home.  I think the crocuses were happy too.  For more pictures with orange in them from bloggers around the world, stop by the Orange You Glad It's Friday meme.  Thank you to Maria for getting it up and running again.  Happy Friday!


  1. One determined fellow, you caught a ton of it. Nice play with the end of the story too.

  2. what a story. And so many shots you managed to get. There is one shot I think is soo great. In the last secuence the two cormorants with the beaks perfectly matched. A winner. :)

  3. a very cute story! i'll think oran finally made it up there, too.

  4. I would like to think Oran made it so the story can have a happy ending. Great series of shots.

  5. You had me from the first, Carol! I think this 'story' could and would be so much fun for not just us 'adults' but also kids!! Along with your excellent photos of Oran's adventure, you have a wonderful and delightful story here. Thanks.

  6. Amazing photography Carole! The individual captures are really remarkable. Do you use a tripod to keep the pictures steady? The sculpture looks relatively normal sized until you see the poor birds trying to land, then you realize how big this piece is. This was really a lot of fun to watch and read. Look you have crocus ~~~ well of course you do, you live in Vancouver!!!


  7. As I used to rehab wild birds (and small mammals), I was drawn in from the first...the photos were perfection and I absolutely loved the tail (I mean.....)

  8. I loved this story with all its drama, tension, rising action and denouement! Character development was well done as well! The setting was spectacular! Phyllis :)

  9. Beautiful series of shots! Oran is one strong and determined fella. I admire it and I love your story. The crocuses are gorgeous too.

    Thanks you Carol for this beautiful post and thank you too for joining us at OYGIF.

  10. I was completely caught in the grip of your cormorant story, Carol. It was like watching a movie. The beak to beak shot and so many others were fantastic captures. And the crocuses with their bright touches of color seemed almost pickable from the pictures!

  11. Thank you for your comments and encouragement, everyone. They are very much appreciated. Ron, I do not use a tripod. I know the pictures would be sharper, but Black Jack is almost always with me when I'm out with the camera and just carrying the big lens seems challenge enough. At least, that's my cheap excuse. I think the truth is closer to a feeling that handheld leaves me freer to shoot wherever.

  12. Great shots♫♪ Glad you could get some orange in them to share on the OYGIF meme...Thanks for commenting on my Bear With Me blog!

  13. Beautiful story and I enjoyed all the photos!

    Stopping by from Orange You Glad It'd Friday- hope you can stop by.