Thursday, July 2, 2015

Great Egret

Great Egrets breed around the world—North and South America, Europe, Asia, China, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. The fact that this species was decimated during the plume-hunting era is hard to remember. American populations recovered only after changes in women’s millinery habits and the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1913. (To think that some of our politicians today would gladly gut this act.)
Last March, Erika and I often saw Great Egrets as we drove up the Texas, Louisiana, and Florida coasts. The bird in the top photo was photographed at Avery Island, Louisiana. The egret in the second photo was displaying on a windy day at High Island, Texas. This behavior is called a “Bow Display.”  The head is lowered while the bird grasps a branch—a male advertising display and also perfomed by paired egrets before their first copulation (Mccrimmon et al. 2001).

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