The Great Egret (Photo of the week)

A great egret calls out with an open beak
A great egret calls out with an open beak

One of the largest, most majestic and ubiquitous birds around my house year round is the Great Egret. A short walk along the bay will usually yield at least one sighting, no matter the time of year. As captivating as this bird is because of its sheer size, it becomes even more interesting when observing its behavior. Whether fishing, preening, flying, or just poking around in the mud with its smaller Snowy Egret cousins, the Great Egret seems intent on whatever it is doing.

Both photos presented here are of the same egret on the same day. The shot below was taken just after a stiff wind had ruffled the bird’s feathers. To settle its feathers back in place, it began to shake its entire body back and forth like a wet dog. Captured mid-shake, it looks more like an overgrown chick than its usual stately self.

A great egret shakes its body, fluffing its feathers as it prepares to preen
A great egret shakes its body, fluffing its feathers as it prepares to preen