Gotta love those Cattle Egrets

These two young Cattle Egrets above are looking quite debonair, with their sleek feathers and mini-crew cuts. IMG_3394.jpgIn the early weeks of their lives “both parents feed the young by regurgitation. Young begin to climb about near nest after 15-20 days, begin to fly at 25-30 days, and become independent at about 45 days.” (, Cattle Egret)IMG_3356At this time of year, in the heat of mid-July, this late brood of juvenile Cattle Egrets are trying out their wings in preparation for learning to fly.

Cattle Egrets are natives of Africa, but they “somehow reached northeastern South America in 1877.”  They later spread to North America over the last half of the 20th century, and are now one of our most abundant herons (All About Birds, Cattle Egret).IMG_3424.jpgThe Cattle Egret is the same rather non-descript bird that we see often sitting atop grazing cattle, or foraging for insects and other small invertebrates in agricultural areas.IMG_0702.jpgYet when we see them in March, at the peak of their breeding colors, Cattle Egrets are transformed into real beauties!IMG_2919Then, by the end of next year’s nesting season, the young birds will develop the peach-colored feathers and snazzy appearance their parents are displaying now.




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