Naturally Speaking: Great egret symbol of conservation gathers in summer flocks
Long, white plumes of feathers emanate from the head of the great egret. Its white plumage is striking as it lifts to the sky, flying gracefully over a wetland, dark legs dangling behind.
Suddenly - QUOK! The egret gives a loud gutteral vocalization that belies its beauty. And I can’t help wondering if 100 years ago when egrets were shot for their plumes, they made that complaining noise as well.
This bird, which lives on every continent except Antarctica, is the symbol of conservation and the poster child of the National Audubon Society. During the 19th century, plume hunters nearly killed off all the great egrets in North America. The plumes were used to adorn the latest women’s fashions.
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