Jan 14 2010

Beyond Bounds: Reddish Egret

Published by at 7:44 am under Beyond Bounds,Water and Shore

Reddish Egret (photo by Chuck Tague)
What is this bird doing?  If we had a video we would call it dancing.  He’s stamping and jumping, charging through the water, raising his wings and running in zig-zags like crazy.  Sometimes he leans his head to one side and runs in a circle as if to scoop the air.

No, he’s not listening to the beat of a different drummer.  He’s scaring the fish so he can catch them.  Meet the reddish egret.

Reddish egrets live beyond the bounds of Pennsylvania because they eat saltwater fish.  They’re found in shallow saltwater estuaries along the coasts of Florida, southern California and the Gulf coast of the U.S.  They like warm weather so well that they move further south to the coasts of Mexico in the winter.

Though called “reddish” egrets they’re not always red.  Juveniles of this dark morph group are chalky looking and all ages of the white morph birds are white.  This would make them hard to identify among wading birds but their unique hunting technique sets them apart.  All you have to do is watch for a while.  They act like madmen.  They’ll make you laugh.  Check out these videos to see what I mean:  juvenile reddish egret on the hunt and an adult stirring up lunch.

If you want to see a reddish egret you’ll have to visit the southern coast.  Chuck Tague photographed this bird in Florida.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Beyond Bounds: Reddish Egret”

  1. faith Cornellon 14 Jan 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Love the egrets; my dau. lives in Florida; get to see alot of the Florida birds. Who is in COL nest today; Dorothy???

  2. Kate St. Johnon 14 Jan 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Nestbox at Pitt: Looks like Dorothy. She & E2 were courting this morning. Spring is on the way! (p.s. Glad you’re watching, Faith. I’ll have to start looking more often.)

  3. Patsyon 14 Jan 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Kate or Faith do you use the National Aviary’s link to the peregrine falcons webcam, or do you have another one? I have used that one, and also have used the one from Earth Cam.

  4. Lisa Caciciaon 15 Jan 2010 at 3:45 am

    I am the Morning Producer at WJAC-TV in Johnstown and a longtime reader of your blog and thought you might be interested in a story I am running this morning: Officials at University Park Airport in Centre County plan to poison as many as 15,000 birds to deal with what they called a bird threat.

    The decision was made three years after a plane struck a flock of European starlings upon takeoff.

    Airport officials said there are tens of thousands of the starlings roosting near the airport.

  5. Kate St. Johnon 15 Jan 2010 at 5:51 am

    Patsy, yes the Aviary has snapshot site that refreshes every 15 seconds from the Pitt nest. It’s here –> http://www.aviary.org/cons/falconcam2.php

  6. Kate St. Johnon 15 Jan 2010 at 5:59 am

    Lisa, This is appalling. Officials in the Lancaster, PA area tried this on crows in 2006. It was awful.

    After you posted your comment here I saw the news on PABIRDS too & responded there (over 959 people read PABIRDS). I will blog about this when I get a chance. Appalling!!

    NOTE: To see the conversation at PABIRDS, look here: http://www.birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/PENN.html. This site retires the oldest messages in 2-3 days so look today or tomorrow for comments labelled “Re: Univ. Park news article ‘Thousands of birds to be killed after airport scare'”

  7. faith Cornellon 15 Jan 2010 at 7:44 am

    Lisa, this is so bad bad bad. When there are no birds there is no world no matter what the kind of birds. They were here first, most other airports work around them. It doesn’t work anyway. Right now I think about Haiti & wonder what happened to all the beutiful birds there. The people are suffering and the creatures that bring beauty to their island is what they need also besides food, shelter and water and medical care. Faith

  8. Patsyon 15 Jan 2010 at 9:40 am

    9:37 and Dorothy is at the nest.

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