Cattle Egret

Hey guys welcome back. Like the western tanager from a few posts back, today’s bird was a vagrant. The cattle egret is a small white heron that was originally found only in Africa before finding its way to North America in the 1950s. From there it spread its range, filling the southern half of the US as well as Mexico, and Central and parts of South America. They get their name from their habit of standing on the backs of cattle, picking ticks from the backs of their ride.

Cattle egrets, Columbus Zoo, Columbus, OH

They are small herons that are white with yellow bills and accents of tan. One spring, one showed up in one of the most random spots. It was in the courtyard of an apartment building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. It stayed there for a couple of weeks before moving on. The NYC birding community was abuzz by this strange occurrence. I made my way to the site in question, and there it was, just going about its business amidst highrises. I didn’t own a good camera yet at the time, and managed only blurry cell phone pics. However, partly with this blog in mind, I snapped some good closeups of some cattle egrets at the Columbus Zoo. They may not be wild specimens, but they are a good pictorial accompaniment to this post! Well, August is upon us, which means fall shorebird season in the US. And next up just happens to be one of the most common sandpipers out there. See you then!

Cattle Egret1
The blurry cattle egret photo I mentioned, Chelsea, NYC

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