Great Egret (Casmerodius
The great egret is a large member of the heron family, with long legs,
white plumage, and a slender body. Adults have black legs and feet.
During the breeding season, the normally yellow bill may appear orange
and long feather plumes (aigrettes) extend from the back to beyond the
tail. The great plumes of the Egret were used as a fashionable adornment
for women's clothing, especially hats, during the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, and they were worth their weight in gold.
The killing of these birds for their feathers served as an inspiration
for the creation of The Audubon Society.
They eat mainly
small fish and look for it at shallow places along the coast.
A version of this
image can also be seen in the 2005 San Diego Bird Festival booklet.