Monday, May 19, 2014

Cattle and Great Egret

I was busy last Wednesday in southwestern Rice County taking photos of a Great Egret (upper photo) wading right next to our car, when John Holden exclaimed, “What is that small white bird ahead of us?” “A Cattle Egret!” I replied. This egret now breeds across most the the southern United State, but it has an odd range extension in the Upper Midwest. The species breeds up through eastern North and South Dakota almost to Canada, yet remains rare in Minnesota. (I have previously written about the expansion of Cattle Egrets from Africa, though South America, to the United States.) Cattle Egrets owe their spread, at least in the Dakotas, to increasing conversion of prairie to livestock pasture.

What about the Great Egret’s lime-green face? I have previously posted notes about this breeding season affectation.

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