The Home Range of White Herons and Egrets - How and Where to Observe Large Wildfowl
A Wall of Herons
Hub Question asked: Do you see or observe white heron or egret in your place?
One of the most startling experiences of my life occurred on a walk across the long Riverwalk boardwalk along the Saginaw River in Downtown Bay City, Michigan. Native plants and wildlife are abundant in this area, including several types of large and small waterfowl and other birds. Walking past a small stand of willow trees, I saw a dozen tall Great Blue Herons standing in it, perhaps 10 yards away from the wooden pathway. It was a magnificent sight and I did not have a camera with me. The birds looked almost too tall for the tree.
Egrets were also present along the shoreline, and I saw a cormorant, many inland gulls, ducks, geese, and swans. This was a better experience than visiting a zoological park.
In the wild, it is easy to observe white herons and egrets in such areas as developed riverwalks that maintain native plants and trees along the shores, in public parks, and from boats. At times you can approach closely enough to see clearly without aid, but other times, binoculars or zoom lens photography are best.
Home Range of the Great White Heron
The Great White Heron usually lives in the Caribbean and in Southern Florida around salt water, but I have seen one in Ohio.It had a heavier bill than the white egret and pale legs instead of black egret legs, so it was a heron.
Perhaps this lovely bird was simply flying through the state to some other destination, or perhaps this magnificent creature flew out of our huge zoological park in Central Ohio. Animals and birds sometimes do escape - Bison, monkeys, and a variety of birds have wondered away from the zoo and been recovered without harm. Monkeys On the Interstate by Jack Hanna tells us all of these types of stories with good humor.
Other than this, the Great White Heron is located in the two places mentioned above, but the Great Blue Heron can be found from Northern Canada all the way south to the northernmost portion of South America.
I have not seen the nest or eggs, but early discovery and description of these on the Audubon website (link the the Egret section below, specifically acthttp://web4.audubon.org/bird/BoA/F38_G1f.html ) includes " They (nests) were large, about three feet in diameter, formed of sticks of different sizes, but without any appearance of lining, and quite flat, being several inches thick. The eggs are always three, measure two inches and three quarters in length, one inch and eight-twelfths in breadth, and have a rather thick shell, of a uniform plain light bluish-green colour."
Home Range of the Great White Egret
Great White Heron at Key Largo, Florida
Great White Heron Links
- Great White Heron NWR
Home page of the Region 4 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, representing Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, the US Virgin Island, and Puerto Rico, a bureau in the Department of Interior.
- Great White Heron in New York
New York State Rarities: Great White Heron on Staten Island September 2001
- White Heron Chorale
Home Range of the Great White Egret
In 1953 the Great White Egret in flight (see photo) became the symbol of the National Audubon Society, an organization formed to stop birds from being killed for their features to be used in clothing and hats. The Great White Egret especially had declined in numbers from their harvesting for hat decorations. However, in the 2010s, they have recovered and spread from the Lower 48 States southward to the southern part of South America and all the way to the Eastern Hemisphere of the Old World. For this reason, they were renamed form American Egret to Great White Egret.
This bird has four subspecies and lives in many parts of the world, but can be seen often in North America as far north as Southern Canada. I have seen a few in Ohio and in Michigan and recognized that they could easily be mistaken for white herons. In fact, these birds are a type of heron; but, the Great White Heron is larger than this egret and is a from of the Great Blue Heron.
I have seen one nest of a Great White Egret in Michigan, but no chicks or eggs. However, they build platform nests of twigs up in the treetops or thick, woody vegetation of some sort. There may be form one to six pale blue-green eggs in a nest at once.