Majestic in White

Raptors top the list of the most self-possessed and regal birds, but egrets and herons are a close second. The new year was only a few days old when a Great Egret (Ardea alba) came to the Wildlife Center for care. Dozens of time a year the Wildlife Center receives water birds that are at best entangled in monofilament or at worst deeply hooked by large treble hooks AND entrapped in fishing line.  When humans fish, they use monofilament, hooks, lures and sinkers, wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could design a system as simple yet sophisticated as used by birds. Fishermen leave miles of monofilament cut free from tangles and snags in the environment per year. This fishing line doesn’t pose much of a hazard to humans, but for the animals that live in the waters it can be a slow and brutal death sentence. Remind the fishermen in your life that they are trespassing into the home of animals that live in that habitat. The adage “Leave only footprints” reminds one to leave nothing man made behind when enjoying the natural beauty – this applies double or triple to monofilament and other fishing gear and trash. Volunteers and staff removed monofilament line and fishing hooks that ensnared the recently rescued Great Egret. The snarl prevented the bird from effectively fishing. Luckily it was still strong enough to feed without human intervention and quickly regained its strength. Once recovered, the Great Egret was placed in a large flight cage to strengthen flight muscles in preparation for release. Several birds look close enough to the Great Egret to confuse identification. The Great Egret is a large white egret that sports dark legs and a stout [...]

Great Egret

The Great Egret By Margaret Pickell One blustery day in February, the Wildlife Center of Texas received a frantic call to aid a large white bird. Nothing unusual except – as the box was opened - there lay a huge ailing white bird unable to stand.  One of the Wildlife Center of Texas' senior wildlife rehabilitators immediately began to stabilize the beautiful white feathered creature. After several days of medication and therapy, the bird began to stand on its own.  As weeks of care passed, he continued to gain strength and started preening, a wonderful sight to see. Knowing that healing was well underway was further evidenced by him putting away tons (well, not literally, lets just say many pounds) of fish and strutting around his enclosure in beautiful breeding plumage. This gorgeous bird was none other than a Great Egret. The Great Egret ‘ardea alba’ is the tallest of our four white egrets (great, snowy, white morph of reddish, and cattle egret).  Maturity results in a height of thirty-nine inches and an astonishing fifty-one inch wingspan. Solid white feathers adorn the tall lanky body, a yellow bill and legs as black as coal.  During breeding season, long plumes down the birds back are present for all to see, especially Miss Egret.  Once prized for their beautiful feathers, these birds are now federally protected. The Great Egret is a slender long legged wading bird that is found in waterways around the world. Fortunately, we have a good population of these birds on the Texas coast.  They can be found in a variety of environments from saltwater marshes to fresh water ponds. Try this yummy menu for a filling meal or a light snack consisting of [...]

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