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Great Egret

25 Oct Posted by in Blog, north carolina birding, shorebird | Comments Off on Great Egret
Great Egret
 

If you’ve been on one of our tours before and peered over the railing into the depths of the salt marsh, then there’s a very good chance that you noticed a tall, ghostly pale shape silhouetted against the green backdrop of the Spartina grass- a great egret. These avian royalty- white, regal, and beautiful- are common along North Carolina’s coast in the estuaries, where they hunt along the rim of the grass for fish, crabs, frogs, and other small maritime critters by spearing them with their long, pointed beak.

Like its cousin, the Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets are a cosmopolitan species that have adapted well to the manmade piers, wharves, bulkheads, and other hard structures imposing on their natural habitat. Many times they can be seen taking advantage of these new developments to their environment- poised, waiting to strike, on the edge of a dock where fish generally congregate.

A migratory species, the Great Egret spends it’s summers by the coast, then moves to warmer climes before the harsh cold of winter arrives.

The Great Egret also serves as the symbol of the National Audubon Society. In previous eras, the feathers from the tail of the Great Egret were highly prized by rich old ladies in big cities for the purpose of decorating their hats. Astounding numbers of these birds were needlessly slaughtered around the 19th century for purposes of frivolous vanity, but thankfully, through legislative efforts and conservation measures, their population has made a complete recovery.

If you would like to see a Great Egret up close and in person, then come on one of our tours with us. Contact Captain Joe Abbate at (910) 200-4002 to set up a tour!