EgretG Paul Fisher
Like a ghostly apparition
the egret did appear
beautiful in its white paleness
though almost unaware
that two strangers were viewing
such a beautiful bird
speechless and in awe
that such a situation
could hardly be put into words.
Whether you know it as the common egret, large egret, great white heron or Great Egret the stunning Adrea alba graces the skies and waters of The Woodlands and has a wonderful story to tell.
- Second largest heron in North America, next to the Great Blue Heron.
- Has four subspecies spread across five continents.
- Great Egrets were decimated by plume hunters in the late 1800’s; populations plunged by 95 percent. Their plight spawned the nation-wide bird conservation movement. Legal protection has resulted in a remarkable comeback.
- Symbol of the National Audubon Society, which was founded to protect bird populations.
What do they look like?
- All white with black legs and a yellow bill.
- Weigh only 2 pounds despite reaching a height of 41 inches with a wingspan of 55 inches.
- During breeding season (late December to early July) the patch of skin on the face turns lime green and long plumes, called aigrettes, grow down the back.
What do they eat?
- Mostly fish. Will also eat crustaceans, frogs, lizards, snakes, and insects.
- Hunts in shallow water, impaling prey on its long, sharp beak.
What eats them?
- They have no real predators as adults. Most would-be predators avoid such a large bird. However, raccoons, hawks, owls and snakes raid their nests for eggs and chicks.
Why do we need them?
- Great Egrets play an important role in balancing aquatic and riparian ecosystems by controlling amphibian, insect, and small mammal populations.
Want more information?
Within The Woodlands, Great Egrets have at times created large nesting sites in residential areas. Abandoned nests can be removed to deter egrets from nesting in your trees, however active nests are protected by the Federal Migratory Birds Treaty Act and cannot be removed.
Learn how to effectively and legally address nesting egrets by visiting the Wildlife Section at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/environment.