The Great White Egret

Sometimes there are birds that seemingly get forgotten as I rush to find out if Tiny Little beat the big older siblings to the fish or to check on Malin’s feather growth. Clearly one of those has been the Kakapo. There are now only 202 Kakapo, parrots that cannot fly and who love to eat Rimu, on a couple of small islands near New Zealand. They are continually monitored and all have satellite transmitters. They get health checks and are flown off island for care, if needed.

The Kakapo Recovery has partnered with On the EDGE Conservation to create the Kākāpō Run game. As a player you can help the Kakapo evade their predators will collecting Rimu Fruit. Because it is filled with facts about these amazing birds, it is a good way to learn about them. You can download the game here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kakapo-run/id1569861836

Ferris Akel spent most of the Saturday tour at Sapsucker Lake near Ithaca, New York. It was magical. We never made it to see Big Red and her family at Cornell University but it was a great time. One of the highlights was a Great White Egret which is rare to Sapsucker Lake.

Great Egrets are also called the Common Egret or Great White Heron.

Great Egrets will generally stand and wait to see their fish. They also slowly and quietly wade through the water until their neck snaps quickly and they get their fish.

Patience. Quiet. The Great White Egret gets its dinner.

Great Egrets nest in trees.

The beautiful white plumage that adorns these graceful wading birds was used for women’s hats in the late 19th century. Those silky white plumes are called aigrettes – which gives the bird its name. At the beginning of the 20th century, an ounce of Great Egret feathers was worth $32 USD, more than an ounce of gold according to the authors of Birds of Canada. People were so outraged that some of the first legislation to protect birds and their feathers was because of the Great Egret being brought to near extinction for hats!

In Canada, the Great Egrets nest in a very small number of places – in the very southern parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, a small part of southeastern Alberta, and southern Quebec. They are found in the Americas, Asia, and parts of southern Europe.

“Great egret rising” by wolfpix is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Great Egrets are large birds. They are 94-104 cm (or 37-41 inches) with a wing span of 1.3 m or 4.2 feet. They weight about 1000 grams or 2 pounds. They are all white with black legs and a yellow bill like the one shown above. During breeding season, a patch between its eyes turns neon green and long plumes grow out of its back.

“Great Egret Pointing the Sky” by TexasEagle is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Non-breeding Great Egrets have a small yellow patch between its eyes and bill.

“Great Egret on nest with chicks” by Photomatt28 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Great Egrets build a flat nest or platform of twigs and sticks. They will lay between 1-6 eggs which are incubated for a period of 23-26 days. It will be another 21-25 days til fledging for the youngsters. Aren’t they cute!

I am getting so excited for Peregrine Falcon season to begin in Australia. The male at the 367 Collins Street Nest also known as the CBD Nest arrived with prey for the female today. He is just such a cutie. The nest camera that streams on YouTube is not up and running. It will begin operations after the eggs are laid (normally). For now there is a camera operated by the owners of the building, Mirvac. Here is the link:

https://367collins.mirvac.com/workplace/building-overview/falcons-at-367-collins?fbclid=IwAR3vGCMkdnScju_KTKjhCrcHRnbsYxJm3kAKTLIOzylSVe8PX3UmwaJEn-s

The other Peregrine Falcon nest is that of researcher, Dr Cilla Kinross, at Charles Sturt University. The scrape box is home to Xavier and Diamond and they have been working on the scrape for some time now. We expect eggs at both nests by the end of August.

If you watch both nests you will get a good glimpse into the difference between a falcon nest on a high rise building in a major city, Melbourne, and the more open rural area of Orange, Australia. The prey is very different!

As it turns nearly midnight on the Canadian prairie, the day is just starting on the Foulshaw Moss Osprey nest in Cumbria. No doubt our beautiful Blue 463, Tiny Little, will fly out from where she is roosting on the branches of the tree in the distance, to the nest. White YW has a trio of big Osprey fledglings to feed. He has demonstrated that he is perfectly capable of feeding a family of five.

Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. I hope to have some local images of bird life in Manitoba for you shortly.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I get my screen shots: Ferris Akel and Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest.

Feature Image Credit: “Great egret (Ardea alba) in flight at sunrise at Venice Rookery, Venice, Florida” by diana_robinson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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