The most elegant of all North American Shore and wading birds the Snowy Egret is my selection for Bird of the Month for July.
The Snowy Egret is a medium sized white heron with a slender black bill, black legs and yellow feet. The area of the upper bill is yellow and turns red during breeding season. Elegant plumes of white feathers are present during breeding season.
|This rookery in Greeley Colorado hosted nesting Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons|
Highly colonial Snowy Egrets nest in mixed colonies with other herons. Both fresh and saltwater habitats are used for nesting. My visit to Greeley Colorado was the first time I saw Snowy Egrets nesting in trees. In eastern US areas Snowy Egrets nest mostly in trees or shrubs but in the west ground nests are more common.
|Snow Egret with an American Avocet in the foreground sitting on a nest|
Snowy Egrets forage in many types of aquatic habitats, both freshwater and marine for small fish, crustaceans and invertebrates. Feeding areas include salt marsh pools, tidal channels, shallow bays, and mangroves.
|Snowy Egret with Black Terns late summer at Farmington Bay|
Snowy Egrets nest at the Great Salt Lake wetlands but migrate south to southern states and Mexico during winter.
|The Great Egret looks similar to the Snowy Egret but is much larger, The Great Egret has a yellow bill black legs and and black feet.|
|Cattle Egret is about the same size as the Snowy Egret but lacks the elegant plumes, has a shorter yellow bill and legs and during breeding has rusty colored markings on the breast and head.|