Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stilt Tilt

This may be the most photographed building in Cedar Key.


The cormorants have claimed it as their own. It makes a good place to rest and preen after a hard day in which you must outswim a fish to get your lunch.
Think about that for a moment.

Yeah, it makes me tired too.

It wasn't that long ago that this building was in use by humans. I think one of the storms took it out.
It has been transformed from a human abode to a "bird rack."
If you look on a nautical chart for this region, you might notice points on the chart that are noted as "Bird Racks". The continental shelf is broad and extremely shallow here in the armpit (I use that term geographically) of Florida and a long time ago, bird racks built upon it supported a thriving industry.

Wooden "racks" were built offshore to provide roosting areas for seabirds like these cormorants. After the seabirds had used a rack for a while, the poop professionals would head out in a boat and scrape off the bird feces ... aka Guano.
The guano was high in Nitrogen compounds and was used for fertilizer and the production of ammunition.

That industry is gone now, but the bird racks are still out there, even though most are now broken pilings and bits of rubble.


Out on the stilt house, things get a little crazy at roosting time.
Mostly, everyone gets along and does their own thing.


Loudmouths are ignored ... preening is the priority.

17 comments:

Wren said...

"Preening is the priority"? Sounds like Hollywood, or a town council meeting.

pablo said...

Or high school.

dani813 said...

Have to think that loudmouth is probally a male. The ladies have that can't be bothered look about them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. It's so perfectly picturesque ... are you sure you didn't take that somewhere at Disneyworld?

Doug Taron said...

Great photos. I always see cormorants along the coast when I visit my dad in Massachusetts. The behavior seems much the same up there. You see them very occasionally here in Illinois both along Lake Michigan and in smaller bodies of water.

kevin said...

We came across something similar in the Keys one year. You couldn't get within 100ft before the smell turned you away. Kind of a rotten fish/bird poop smell. We hoped to catch some fish under it but we couldn't stay long enough to cast a line.

Sharon said...

Let's see if 3rd times the charm
Birdhouse

:)

robin andrea said...

Beautiful photographs, fc. It's always cool to see cormorants and those racks are perfectly picturesque.

SophieMae said...

As soon as I saw the words most photographed building in Cedar Key, I knew what was loading. I love those structures. A shame we can't build them anymore. I hope Mrs' FC's family treasure holds out a long, long time.

You have to give those guano gatherers a whole lot of credit. I wouldn't want to have to deal so closely with that ammonia aroma. 8-O

The Troll said...

Ugly birds need love too. Long live the humble Cormorant!

threecollie said...

That is pretty neat...and you might find that industry returning if fertilizer prices rise as expected next summer. lol

ImagineMel said...

A) did you read the "news" from the Board meeting last night? GGGRRRRRRR.
B) J will love that you wrote the word "poop" in your blog
C) "armpit" is a geographical term?
D) where, pray tell, do the readers see a manatee in that pic?? I have squinted, closed my eyes and held my mouth just so, and I still can't see it.
E) And as for the aforementioned POOP...that is exactly how I feel today. :(

Floridacracker said...

Wren and Pablo,
Right on all accounts. I almost included a line about middle school girls ... the queens of preen.

Dani,
A keen observer of human behavior ... oh, you were talking about the birds.

Anon,
You're teasing me aren't you?

Doug,
They are thick as fleas down here. I feel for them on these cold winter days when the air and water are cold and the bait fish are few.

Kevin,
Ditto that experience. It is a thick, muggy smell that fills your lungs.

Sharon,
I'm clicking that after this post, but I have a feeling you got it too!

Robin,
Thanks, Cedar Key reeks of picturesquenicity.
:)

Sophie,
LOL at "ammonia aroma". No, that job would make for a long boat ride back to shore.

Troll,
If we could see them swim underwater we' all probably be awed.

3C,
Fertilizer and feed!
A bale of hay cost me $7 today!

Mel,
A) I did and that teacher's union can kiss ...
Bunch of communists...ggrrr don't even get me started ... I went head to head with mr union guy a few weeks ago...card carrying marxist idiot ...totally against any personal achievement rewards for those who excell ... wienie.
Like I said, don't get me started.

B)Some people say Pure Florida is full of poop.
C) Get your map out, go from here to Panama City.
D) I don't see one either. It was a scenic shot, but hey, could be!
E) Uh oh, are you sick? I'm making chicken noodle soup tonight :)

Mrs Mecomber said...

I can see it now--- the fishing yacht sailing by, it's majestic side emblazoned in red letters: Bubba Gump Shrimp.

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. Mecomber,
It is a fitting background isn't it?

Mark said...

I am not sure how I ended up anonymous, but I still think it's pretty darned picturesque.

Floridacracker said...

Mark,
It was the Disney reference that made me think I was being teased.
:)I'm not a big Dismal World fan.
I am glad you liked the pic.