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Young man rescues orphaned bird, touching friendship ensues

Chris is a young man with a remarkable gift for bonding with animals of all kinds. Even wild animals show an incredible amount of trust for him and he has been able to put this to use many times. Ever since he was a small child, he was called an "animal whisperer" and his love and respect for all creatures is obvious. Chris' family has a cottage on a remote island on a secluded lake in Northern Ontario. There are few people here and the animals are noticeably more relaxed with the presence of humans. As with most lakes in Ontario, loons, ducks and cormorants make their homes here and they quietly go about the business of catching fish during the summer months. But there was one small cormorant who seemed to be having difficulty. He was on his own and he seemed to be trying his best to dive for fish in the bays around the island. He didn't seem to be catching many and the family watched him with curiosity and concern. The little bird seemed curious himself and he watched the family with equal interest. Chris had been out fishing and he caught a few bass that he cleaned for the next day's meal. It's possible that the bird saw him carrying the fish, and very likely that he could also smell it. Whatever the reason, this little fellow waddled up onto the rock and looked at them expectantly, much like a puppy begging for a treat. Chris slowly walked close enough to the bird to toss him some scraps of fish. He acted as if he was starving and he gulped it down as fast as Chris could throw it. Chris was able to work his way closer and hand feed him almost immediately. Chris and his family called him 'Cori'. With a full belly, Cori swam across the lake to roost on a rock and soak up some sunshine. But he came back three or four times a day, looking for more food. He made a soft grunting sound to announce his presence and he even began sitting on the rock beside Chris, anxious for the company. He seemed to really enjoy the sound of Chris talking to him as well. Surprisingly, he even learned his name and he would fly or swim to the rock at the shore if he was called. Over the next little while, Cori grew stronger and he was soon able to catch more of his own fish. He was given less help and he was able to fend for himself completely. Cori flew south for the winter, but he returned to the lake the following summer. He was seen on the dock and around the swimming area again occasionally. He was grateful for handouts but he was much less tame this time around. With rehabbed wildlife, this is as it should be. Helping a wild animal until it can fend for itself, rather than making it dependent on humans, is success. On one of Cori's visits, he even brought a loon with him. The loon kept its distance, but it watched with great interest as Cori received fish scraps. Chris demonstrates that befriending a wild animal can be a wonderful experience.
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