A Great Egret Takes Flight

A dazzling sight anywhere is the elegant, all-white Great Egret.

The Great Egret is smaller and more slender than the Great Blue Heron, but their take-off is just as graceful.

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The Great Egret’s powerful wingspan is 4 to 5 feet (131-145 cm).


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The Great Egret can reach a cruising speed of 25 mph (40 kmh).


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In the late nineteenth century, the Great Egret was hunted almost to extinction for their plumes, igniting outrage over the slaughter of millions of all kinds of birds for the millinery trade.   In 1896, a conservation movement was organized by two women, Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall, to convince the Boston society ladies to shun all hats with bird feathers.  These meetings created the beginning of the Audubon and the foundation of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

The Great Egret was selected as the symbol of the National Audubon Society.  How appropriate!


audubon logo

© Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow.


Cheers to the Audubon and their work!


48 thoughts on “A Great Egret Takes Flight

  1. Terrific shots Donna. But more significantly I learned about Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall. Their efforts helped to change 19th century culture to one that instead fosters an appreciation of nature and to have society recognize that humans need to serve as stewards of the diverse animal life with whom we share this planet.

    • Thank you Steve for your wonderful comments! I too learned this info about the women heralded in helping to found the Audubon, and thought I’d share for others who didn’t know. 🙂

  2. Beautiful stunning shots Donna, such a beautiful pure white. A wonderful historical introduction to your bird conservation society, thanks for sharing this, it is good that people take notice before it is too late and species are lost to extinction. A great post Donna!

  3. Wonderful captures Donna!! And loved the story of Audubon’s beginnings. It’s funny that I also saw and ‘shot’ many Great Egrets yesterday. They are such beautiful creations!

    • Thank you Helen! It seems they are more in numbers around me more than any other bird, besides the Pelicans. Most though at a great distance standing among dead marsh grass. I was happy to find some closer to me and with water in the background. 🙂

  4. Absolutely gorgeous photos! Hard not to ponder feathers with such a creature. Somehow Great Egrets and Snowies defy the “dark feathers (with melanin) are stronger” paradigm.

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