Egret Watch

The extraordinarily beautiful snowy egret–a proud and regal bird, and one mankind almost succeeded in eliminating forever. Luckily for the snowy egret, we realized this, changed course and direction, and today those early days are being overcome.

This beautiful bird is in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, which was designed exactly for these types of cases. Photographed here in early June, it is sporting the thin, wispy tail feathers that show up only during breeding season. Unfortunately, those same feathers made excellent hat decorations, so this bird was ruthlessly hunted for those few feathers. Not only were the adults taken, but of course the young were affected as well, since it was breeding season, and thus both parents and potential offspring were gone.

Today, however, this egret is waiting in the shallow water without fear of humans. It is focused, as it should be, on the important parts of the day, namely, hunting. Perhaps hatchlings are in a nearby nest, waiting to be fed. In any event, it is patiently waiting to see what happens by. And it is well that it is the hunter, and no longer the hunted, and soon it will hopefully no longer be known as a species of special concern.

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