Bryan Brillhart Photography Presents “Dig IB” Bird of the Week, the “Great Egret”
Sep 03, 2015 01:05PM
By Paul Spear
Bryan Brillhart of Bryan Brillhart Photography presents us with
the “Bird of the Week”. The column will provide a picture of a bird(s) locally
photographed and we will have background on the bird. This week’s bird is
the “Great Egret (Ardea alba)”.
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“Dig IB” Bird of the Week, the “Great Egret”
This Week’s “Bird of the Week” is the Great Egret (Ardea alba), also known as the common egret, large egret, or the great white heron. It is a large, widely distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world., the elegant Great Egret is a dazzling sight in many a North American wetland. Slightly smaller and more svelte than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans. They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a deadly jab of their yellow bill.
Like the Snowy Egret, last week’s “Bird of the Week”, Great Egrets were hunted nearly to extinction for their plumes in the late nineteenth century, sparking conservation movements and some of the first laws to protect birds.
In flight, the long neck is tucked in and the legs extend far beyond the tip of the short tail. All feathers on Great Egrets are white. Their bills are yellowish-orange, and the legs black.
Great Egrets wade in shallow water to hunt fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals. They typically stand still and watch for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Then, with startling speed, the egrets strike with a jab of their long neck and bill.
You’ll find Great Egrets in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. They are colonial nesters,
typically placing stick nests high in trees, often on islands that are isolated from mammalian predators such as racc
The Great Egret is commonly found in our own Tijuana Estuary, and are easily spotted. Get out and explore the many trails in the estuary to see this bird and the many other beautiful species that call Imperial Beach their home.