Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Great Egret in the NJ Meadowlands
Formerly known as the "American Egret," "Common Egret," "Large Egret," "White Egret," "Great White Egret," and "Great White Heron," this bird's official name in North America is now Great Egret.
This species has recovered from historic persecution by hunting to obtain the feathers. The danger for the Great Egret now is the destruction of wetlands. This is even more true in the West where colonies are few and widely scattered.
Like the Great Blue Heron, it usually feeds alone, stalking fish, frogs, snakes, and crayfish in shallow water.
The Great Egret is one of the tallest birds. They will sit waterside fishing for hours spearing fish with their sharp bills.
Watch an egret catch a fish and you will see it toss it slightly up in the air to put it into position to swallow - and you may actually see it wiggle on the way down. They also eat insects and even small shore birds that are preoccupied with their own fishing.