The Great Egret is an all-white large Heron. “Wonderful plumage,” as Monty Python attests to. Galveston is chock full of birds and the Egret is a fabulous addition to this blog. It’s hard to tell at a distance but these birds are large, often standing more than a meter tall with a wing-span of nearly a meter as well. They weigh 700 to 1500 grams, 1.5 to 3.3 pounds thus it is only a bit smaller than its cousin, the Great Blue Herron. They have yellow bills with black legs and feat. When the birds breed their fine feathers change colors towards the blue.
The Great Egret is a slow flyer like many of the fishing birds around the island such as the Brown Pelican. Egrets are not very vocal it gives a low, hours croak when startled. It often shout a croaking cue cup cup cup and also some higher-pitched vocalizations.
The Egret ranges far and wide around the planet and is seen throughout the Americas as well as Europe, Asia and Africa. The snowy egret can be distinguished from the great egret because is quite a bit small and has a smaller bill and different feet coverings.
The birds, not surprisingly, feed primarily on fish and small crustaceans. Please, don’t feed them bread as it impossible for them to digest. Compared to fish, white bread must taste like sugar straight up and simple! They lay eggs in tall grass, sand dunes and wooded areas around Galveston. The males, as is common with avians, help feed and care for the young and they fledge in six months or so.
Very graceful fliers, Egrets populate the entire length of the beach and can be seen “cruising” back and forth riding on the sea breezes! They spy their next meal and crash land in the water. Quite a sight!