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Pa. to protect endangered birds on Susquehanna - abc27 WHTM

Pa. to protect endangered birds on Susquehanna

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Double-Crested Cormorant (Wikimedia Commons) Double-Crested Cormorant (Wikimedia Commons)
Great Egret (Wikimedia Commons) Great Egret (Wikimedia Commons)
Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Wikimedia Commons) Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Wikimedia Commons)
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced it will take steps to protect two of the state's endangered birds with a limited culling of double-crested cormorants, a species that has been increasingly dominating a nesting area on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg.

Culling was first used in 2006, and was used again in 2011 and 2012, to protect a colony of great egrets and black-crowned night-herons on Wade Island.

Dan Brauning, supervisor of the Game Commission's Wildlife Diversity Section, said Wade Island is home to the state's largest nesting colony night-herons and great egrets.

Cormorants, which were at one time rare in Pennsylvania, have been increasing rapidly in their numbers, and their abundance has led to increased conflicts other birds, their food supply, and vegetation.

A Game Commission survey conducted earlier this month showed that great egret nests decreased slightly from 185 to 181, and night-heron nests dropped from 67 to 48, compared to May 2012.

Brauning said the current number of night-heron nests is the second-lowest in 28 years of nest surveys on Wade Island.

He said extreme care will be taken so that the nesting of endangered species on the three-acre island is not disturbed, and the culling efforts will be stopped immediately if there is a perceived threat to egrets or herons.

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