Army Corps to Blow Cormorants Out of the Sky—Can You Help?

Posted by Kelsey Eberly, ALDF Litigation Fellow on March 24, 2015

On Friday, March 20, the Army Corps of Engineers announced its final decision to go forward with a “management plan” that calls for the slaughter of nearly 11,000 double-crested cormorants and the destruction of over 26,000 cormorant nests on East Sand Island, at the mouth of the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia River. The Audubon Society of Portland has been tracking this lethal control plan since it was first announced, commenting during the environmental review, spreading the word, and mobilizing bird lovers to speak out against it.

If you are a lover of the Columbia River’s birds, the Animal Legal Defense Fund needs your help in putting a stop to this slaughter.


The cormorants will be blown out of the sky with shotguns and shot at close range with rifles as they glide over the water, gathering food for their hatchlings on the island. All told, the federal government’s plan calls for mowing down more than half of East Sand Island’s cormorants—the largest colony of these birds in the western United States. This represents the killing of 15% of the entire population west of the Rockies.

The Corps’ plan is a misguided and scientifically suspect attempt to mitigate the precipitous decline of protected salmon species in the region. Rather than attack the root causes of salmon loss—habitat loss, over development, and the Corps’ own management of the Columbia River Hydropower System—the federal government has scapegoated the birds for doing what comes naturally: eating fish.

During the environmental review process, the Corps received over 145,000 comments opposing its lethal management plan, with over 98% of commenters voicing opposition to lethal control. ALDF joined this chorus, calling on the Corps to thoroughly analyze the panoply of human-caused impacts on salmon populations, and to engage in a bioethical review of how to manage the bird and fish species.

However, despite this overwhelming public opposition, and the lack of any scientific basis for the hypothesis that blasting cormorants out of the sky will lead salmon populations to rebound, the Corps’ lethal management plan is moving forward. Their narrow-minded calculation pits one protected species against another in a zero-sum game. That’s not conservation; it’s a massacre.

ALDF is calling for the planned slaughter of cormorants to be halted—and we need your help to hold the Corps accountable. Are you a bird-lover or bird-watcher? Have you visited the area and seen the cormorants in the Columbia River estuary? If so, please contact ALDF immediately, at


91 thoughts on “Army Corps to Blow Cormorants Out of the Sky—Can You Help?

  1. theresa says:

    animals need our protection, not neglect or abuse

  2. Linda mallery says:

    Do not kill these birds!!

  3. Lori says:

    This is so very cold-blooded! Do not kill these birds!!

  4. Ivka says:

    Don’t kill these cormorants!!

  5. Julie Ryman says:

    Do not kill these birds!

  6. Xenia Oliver says:

    Please don’t kill these cormorants.

  7. christy noble says:

    Who do these people think they are!?!? It takes a pathetic mind to come up with a plan that disgusting. Slowly destroying the planet one dumb plan at a time!

  8. Michael Tabers says:

    don’t destroy God’s creatures!!

  9. julie says:

    comorants are not harmful to any ecosystem ,, they are just easy targets because they dive for food and need to dry their wings in the sun afterwards ,, it is sick to shoot another animal that is temporarily enabled , like a mother elk or a nesting parrot ,, but why treat a commorant like it is just a target because it needs a few hours to dry ? these animals are brilliant , gorgeous and never a harm to humans even when wild ones are approached , they just want to live and fish ,, the minute we target these majestic birds is the minute we are horrendous monsters,, they are not food ,, this is easy entertainment,, not cool at all

  10. marrian bertin says:

    I don’t see any reason for this. How do these birds affect you? Please do not kill these birds.

  11. Cormorants are beautiful birds and deserve to live out their lives without this cruel slaughter. Please protect them!

  12. Sara Robinson says:

    This is one of the most appalling things I have read in some time, and I’m disgusted! Without fixing other detrimental factors, the salmon will continue to decrease in population. This slaughter is a temporary solution, and shows our children how to take the easy way out when confronted with a problem.

    1. Devi says:

      You are absolutely right Sara, I agree.

  13. Katherine Roulaine says:

    I cannot believe anyone would slaughter these birds. Please don’t!

  14. john milne says:

    too much cruelty in this world without drsfting in army to slaughter wildlife human race gets more inhuman alltime army is formedto protect citizens not slaughter innocent birds

  15. Thomas Gish says:

    Places and things are here for a reason, leave them be for you are not the decider. Plenty of room on of of your hundreds of posts and bases to do what you want to do.

  16. The Salmon are scarce because of the very same Army Corps of Engineers – they are the ones that have stopped the flow of Rivers and the Dams!! It is their fault and their fault only! How dare they even consider doing this?? How can people allow this?? I think it is verhy important for all people to go there to make a stand against this preposterous and cruel event! It should not and cannot be allowed to take place!!! ((*_*)

  17. Patricia Krause says:

    Why would you want to kill these birds. Are you a bunch of Idiots??? Leave them alone!

  18. Patricia Krause says:

    Dont kill these birds

  19. Linda Karp says:

    This slaughter of cormorants CAN NOT OCCUR!!!! Our government’s job is to PROTECT, NOT SLAUGHTER. I am utterly and totally against this, and my vote in every election will show it. DO NOT CONDUCT THIS NEEDLESS VIOLENCE AGAINST THE NATURAL WORLD!!!

  20. patricia kosky says:

    Stop the killing now!!!

  21. Marla Mize says:

    This is wrong on so many levels. Please do not do this.

  22. Andrea Pitts says:

    We do NOT need anymore slaughter of innocent animals !!!!!!!! Leave the birds alone and in there place

  23. scott thomas says:

    This is absurd and inhumane and does not address the actual causes for which these birds are being blamed. Please, Government, use some heart and sense and come up with a more rational, compassionate solution.

  24. julie says:

    i have actually approached a wet but drying comorant ,, they are so awesome irl they are my new favorite wild bird ,, so calm and intelligent ,, this is like using a penguin or a koala bear for target practice ,, honestly ,, horrible ,, why would you use this beautiful animal as target practice just because it has to hold still to dry off ,, this is slaughter , not culling ,, these animals are not overpopulated they are no harm to the environment ,, they are just harmless and easy to shoot at ,, this is the most unjust and pathetic excuse for a killing of a native creature it is

  25. s stock says:

    I’m sure the birds and fish have been there longer than we know and it was fine. Along comes man and, surprise,surprise, it’s the birds fault! The A.C.of E.needs to take the blame for the problem. If the birds lose and the problem still goes on, what will they blow out of the water next! They need to stop this idiocy!!

  26. robert siriani says:


  27. Jane McBride says:


  28. Marilyn Stonebraker says:

    Please do not kill the cormorants. I live on Washington coast and can go for a week or more without seeing one and 7 years ago I always saw just 5 daily. Just like the starfish virus, just one thing can wipe them out. I wish I could go there. Army Corps of Engineers are supposed to help, NOT KILL. STOP OVERFISHING. LOWER LIMITS, STOP THE NETS.

  29. Milissa Parrish says:

    Did this slaughter happen? I want to sign the petition, but I am not sure where it is in the process.

  30. Tricia Keegan says:

    This is so shocking to me, please do not kill these birds!!

  31. Beth Evans says:

    Please do not kill these beautiful birds. They are not the problem. This will just make the eco system worse.

  32. nancy Hamson says:

    I don’t believe you have to kill the cormorants. We are better than that.

  33. Lisa McCorison says:

    Please don’t kill the cormorants. These birds have existed on salmon for what, thousands of years I’m guessing…long before men messed with their habitats and food sources? Stop the human destruction of habitat and human consumption of salmon, not the natural relationship the birds have w/the salmon. Leave the birds alone!

  34. Fatemah A. Nikchehi says:

    Please stop

  35. P NUNEZ says:


  36. Jamie says:

    Animals need our voices so here’s mine!!
    STOP animal abuse!!!!!

  37. MEP says:

    Senseless and inhumane. Who died and left you in charge of killing helpless animals/birds?

  38. Rena says:

    tghis is a crime to kill these birds, leave them alone. I demand to stop the killing
    We need these birds and they are beautiful and have a porpuse to be there.

  39. Rosemary Mannino says:

    Excuse me, God gave them wings to fly. Man man planes. No more planes. Killing birds is out of the question.

  40. God gave birds wings to fly. How dare you to even think about killing them. Ground the dare planes.

  41. Devi says:

    Please consider leaving a space for the wilds where natural preadtor keep at bay cormorants and other species. By deliveratelly killing them the ecosystem will be greater affected -once again-. The effects will be seen throughout all the places that bird visits (wich is not your jurisdiction). If you invests in transforming a forest nearby the salmon farms, the locals will be possitively affected too. Eather case killing the wild animals shouldn’t be the answer when big corporations pollute so much and hurt the ecosystem without paying the price.

  42. Caren singer says:

    Where does this killing spree end????? Let them live. They want to, just as you want to live.

  43. Shelley Waltman says:

    This if senseless, not to mention a disgusting waste of life!

  44. Michelle Livengood says:

    The salmon are also dying because of the fish farming. These corporations put too many salmon in open water fisheries and the virulent bacteria and viruses get out and infect the wild salmon population. That is what they need to curtail!There is a documentary on it too.

  45. Who do they think they are to kill all these birds and what right do they have ??? God created all things and God will take care of the birds and the salmon…..if SOB humans would keep their sorry no good asses out of it. All humans want to do is destroy and kill !!! Leave Nature alone and all these birds !! They are all in God’s hands and don’t need anything from stupid humans !!!

  46. Michele Murphy-Smith says:

    What the hell is wrong with you? You are still humans, right?

  47. Romina says:

    This is unacceptable. In 2015, you can not find another way?

  48. Carol Patterson says:

    this is wrong on so many levels, you are supposed to protect us and our country, not participate in the wholesale slaughter of our wildlife.

  49. Coralie Benton says:

    You do not have to kill these exquisite birds, there is no need for it.

  50. Robin Hartmann says:

    The Army Corps of Engineers needs to stop playing god with the environment. Nothing good has ever come from ill conceived attempts to balance killing with more killing.

  51. Stephanie Williams says:

    Please don’t kill these poor birds! Be the heroes that y’all are! Not just heroes for people but for animals as well!

  52. Catherine Thomas says:

    I can’t believe this is to be allowed! We are disturbing their place and this is nothing but needless slaughter! When will we stop decimating animals? Terrible!

  53. Stephanie Thigpin says:

    The government is going to slaughter over 11,000 birds to ‘protect’ endangered salmon???? How about we ban the sale and consumption of salmon by humans????? How about we slaughter all the humans that eat salmon instead, bet that number is in the hundreds of millions!!!! I’m stunned, but not surprised, tax payer funded massacres are the norm here in America, God bless the U. S. of A., nation of greed, gluttony and wildlife slaughter……. Madness.

  54. Heidi Marusa says:

    Human destruction does not end…we are destrying earth yet we must step in and interfere with the birds for the salmon? No…

  55. Dan Pickel says:

    Do not kill these birds.

  56. Leda Tilton says:

    this is totally unnecessary and cruel

  57. Alison L. says:

    Why do we blame (and then kill) wildlife — sea lions, cormorants, etc. – for only doing what they are born to do? I.e., eat fish! We need to change our own behavior and rectify our own mistakes, not shift the blame for (supposedly) low salmon levels to other creatures. Humans are to blame for the situation and humans should bear responsibility for this state of affairs. Stop over-fishing by HUMANS,

  58. ulrike schmoll says:

    Are you crazy ??

  59. laura aiken says:

    please remember the golden rule and treat others as you would want to be treated. this goes for the animal kingdom as well. i cannot believe this is even possible. please please please do not kill these birds !!

  60. Helen Smith says:

    These beautiful birds belong there it’s there home killing them will be a heartless act…..

  61. Come on guys…There is no need for this! I know you have to follow orders but if enough of you have something to say about this maybe you can make a change! I know that some of you have good hearts!

  62. Susan Gadoua says:

    The lack of regard for innocent beings and their habitat is unacceptable. The lack of regard for the ecosystems is inexcusable and short-sighted. STOP NOW please!

  63. Scherazade Patel says:

    THIS IS DISGUSTING!!! WHAT RIGHT DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO EVEN THINK OF DOING SUCH A THING??!! i am astounded that this sort of thing could ever be ‘legalized’ & if it were up to me, those who’ve made this so-called decision would meet with an even worse fate. WAKE UP. WE ARE DESTROYING OUR PLANET, DESTROYING OUR OWN HOME.

  64. Gabby says:

    Why kill

  65. razlina says:

    What bullshit reason these people come to up with. The reason to kill cormorant is to protect salmon population? Wtf?? You fucking human should stop eating salmon, then Salmon’s population would maintain there forever. Wanna kill animals where their food is salmon? Wtf is wrong with human. Never stopped being selfish. You people love eating salmon, that’s why you people wanna so call protect salmon’s population. Stop killing the birds!!! Salmon is their food. You should go kill yourself for eating salmon then.

  66. Ruth DuBelko says:

    Please leave these precious beings be. Do not kill them. They have the right to live as much as anyone!!

  67. sharon chang says:

    don’t get me started on the government bulls**t that goes on!

  68. Poppy Silver says:

    For the love of sacredness….please rethink this and be humane – leave them be and free…please

  69. cj jack says:


  70. maureen says:

    Please don’t hurt these innocent birds! All mammals and other creatures are necessary for our Worlds delicate ecosystem! Haven’t you learned anything yet when bulldozers went in and corrupted Floridas waterways and land and how the living animals, fowl, fish ect payed dearly, just to make money? We are in serious trouble with coral reefs dying and the damage just goes all the way up the food chain.

  71. Kim Sterrett RN says:

    this does not seem right at all

  72. Caroline says:

    Cormorants are not the problem, humans are causing problems for the salmon.

  73. Susannpulkowski says:

    No need to kill these birds. Stop, please.

  74. Jennifer says:

    This is just a horrible thing to do, absolutely disgusting. This is not the answer to the problem. This will be the beginning of yet another problem. A continuation of killing is completely inhumane and shows how ignorant human beings are. This is a vicious cycle that is caused by humans, not the birds!!! Do not kill these birds!!!

  75. julie says:

    WTF! This is totally cruel and sick

  76. CG says:

    so how can we help?

  77. Sandee says:

    How could anyone think this is a good idea? Decimate one species to save another. What’s wrong with this picture? Take out the “human” element and nature will provide balance. Cancel this crazy, illogical, and stupid plan.

  78. c lobina says:

    Im tired of feeling sick because I live in a world dominated by the foulest species created…..MAN. Animals were here before us, they were also meant to share this planet or they wouldnt be here. We dont own this Earth, we havent bought it, we SHARE it !

  79. Raven Hannah says:

    The Earth belongs to ALL of us . . . . not just to humans. Stop killing every other living being on this planet. Enough is enough! We need to co-exist peacefully. Who came up with this ridiculous plan?!

  80. Sharee Bullard says:

    We will not sit by and let u do this! When is this supposed to happen? I will get everyone l know to be there and block their way!!

  81. Shirley Sarmento says:

    Really the birds are not the problem. Money talks, who’s paying who. Same with the seals, big money paid by China etc.

  82. Robin Wolf says:

    There is NO reason for this kind of slaughter,be kind, rewind the process of thought here.Our Creator didnt put all souls to be here so that evil humans can go out and have a party in killing birds and their nest’s,just like wolves,bears,trophy hunters dream.Please stop this insane action and come up with a better answer if you evil people dont want them there,they will be an endangered specie in no time the way America and the globe are going.Our environment needs solutions not slaughter.PEACE OUT!!!

  83. VIckie Allen says:

    There are so many more humain ways of dealing with this problem. This is awful!

  84. Nick Percival says:

    It’s amazing and disgusting that the only solution the bureaucratic mind can come up with regarding wild life “problems”, is to to KILL the wildlife. Of course, since it was the Army, it was even more of a forgone outcome. There are other humane solutions. If the “problem” is cast as “Find A Humane Solution”, that might help. Even better is to examine whether it really is a “problem” in a non-Army context.

  85. Kathy says:

    Please do not kill these birds! This is not the solution, you must come up with a way that does no harm.

  86. Liz smery says:

    It’s not for man to decide survival of the fittest, let the animals work it out! Killing one to save another is no plan. Please don’t kill the birds. Let nature work it out!

  87. Karen says:

    How stupid…man trying to change nature. It never works…it just upsets the balance! How about correcting this huge mistake…forget your dumb plan…loss of salmon is not the cormorants fault…it’s man’s fault!

  88. marilyne chenuet says:

    It’s not to us to decide who lives and who dies ! The animals were there before us ! We don’t have the right to drag other creatures in our distruction : we already distroy of the Earth everyday, that’s enough !

  89. Cynthia Lewis says:

    Shocked yiud even consider this!!!!

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