Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Egret

Great Egret (Ardea alba)Yesterday the whole bottom field was flooded. This is the area that we burned last month (see the previous post).

Today as we watched the flood waters recede we were delighted to see this bird in the bottom flooded field. Great Egrets (Aredea alba) were once threatened in Illinois due to both habitat loss and the desirability of their feathers for ladies hats. But today, egret feather hats are no longer in style and many habitats have been restored to suit the egret. They like marshes, wetlands, and river floodplains where they patiently walk about seeking frogs, fish and snakes. This egret successfully stabbed a frog and walked about with the frog clamped in its bill, as shown in the photo above. It dipped the captured frog in the water every so often, then squeezed it between its bill. After about ten minutes of this it finally swallowed the whole frog. The egret stayed around all day and was joined by a great blue heron and a pair of Canada Geese.