Thursday, March 27, 2014

Snowy Egret

In the late Morning of 19 February during our visit to Rockport, Texas, Erika and I strolled back to our hotel. We saw several egrets and herons, among them, this Snowy Egret. This species's population was decimated by the millinery trade of the late 1880s. Heron and egret plumes adorned women's hats. In 1886, plumes sold for twice the going price of gold (Parsons and Master 2000). This slaughter continued in the United States until 1910, when these birds became protected by law. 

Snowy Egrets have since made a comeback, and now range even wider than in historical times. But another threat lies in wait. Of the 127 million acres of US wetlands that existed during colonial times, 100 million had been drained by the late 1970s (Parsons and Master 2000). Even today wetlands are being drained and tiled. Difficult environmental efforts may be required to maintain tomorrow's egret populations.

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