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July 6, 2013 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Great Egret

The Great Egret is a large all white Heron slightly smaller than the Great Blue Heron, with yellow eyes and black legs. They can often be seen along rivers, ponds and in marshy areas. They are an impressive sight when they fly, soaring slowly through the sky.

Great Egret

The Great Egret is a summer resident in my area. I saw this bird a few blocks from my house at a small pond. They are very shy and usually fly away before I can get in camera range. This bird let me get close enough for a photo shoot and then provided a beautiful soaring takeoff when he departed.

Great Egret

The Egret has a fairly wide range spending its winters in South and Central America and migrating into the US in the summer. According to the range map Chicago is on the edge of their breeding zone but I see them throughout the summer.

Interesting Notes

  • The Great Egret was almost hunted to extinction for it’s beautiful feathers. Today it is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, an environmental organization which was founded to protect birds.
  • Southern Florida is home to a similar looking species, a white morph of the Great Blue Heron, also called the Great White Heron. They are larger and have flesh-colored legs rather than the Great Egret’s black legs.


Saturday Snapshot was originated by Alyce at At Home With Books. For the summer it will be hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. Beth Hoffman / Jul 6 2013 10:18 am

    The photos you captured are fabulous!


  2. Arti / Jul 6 2013 10:21 am

    O thanks for this post… you’ve answered my query. I’ve always wondered what the diff. bet. GBH and a Egret. The Egret is much more elegant. Nice shots!


    • Arti / Jul 8 2013 5:28 pm

      One more query: I heard a bird call in the musical interval of a major third, like this: “do-mi-mi-mi; do-mi-mi-mi”t went on for a long time, but I couldn’t see the bird, but heard this on a couple of occasions as I went birding in the last few days. Do you have any idea what kind of bird it is?


      • Leslie / Jul 8 2013 7:24 pm

        No, I’d have to hear it. And even then I might not be familiar with the bird’s summer call if it doesn’t breed in the Midwest.

        Habitat can help narrow down the type of bird you are hearing. Were you in the woods? Shrublands? Etc. If I’m out in the prairie monitoring and I hear something I can’t identify, when I get home I listen to the calls of the species that would be breeding in the grasslands in the Chicago area, for example native sparrows. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.


      • Arti / Jul 9 2013 10:49 am

        That’s ok. Thanks anyway. Interestingly, I found on the Internet there’s another person who had the same query. He heard it on his Maple Tree farm, I heard it in a wooded, forest area too. Just for interest’s sake here’s his page. Paragraph 4. He couldn’t find the answer to his query either. 😉


  3. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader / Jul 6 2013 10:32 am

    Beautiful! You must have been thrilled to be able to capture these 🙂


  4. BermudaOnion / Jul 6 2013 10:54 am

    What a majestic bird! We see them around here from time to time.


  5. Sheila (Book Journey) / Jul 6 2013 11:42 am

    Such a great looking bird!


  6. Christine Harding / Jul 6 2013 12:17 pm

    Impressive doesn’t even begin describe those photos – what an incredible and beautiful bird. My Snapshot is at


  7. Suko / Jul 6 2013 12:46 pm

    Certainly a majestic bird, and your photos capture the majesty!


  8. laurelrainsnow / Jul 6 2013 1:55 pm

    What an elegant bird! I love the photos….both show off that elegance…especially the one in flight. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.


  9. Ginny / Jul 6 2013 2:48 pm

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful bird.


  10. Vicki / Jul 6 2013 3:18 pm

    Love that you caught it in flight. Beautiful!


  11. Heather / Jul 6 2013 3:45 pm

    Very nice photos of a shy bird


  12. Susan / Jul 6 2013 8:20 pm

    Oh what a dignified looking bird! How ’bout that neck line … all jagged lines! What awesome photos!


  13. irene / Jul 6 2013 9:10 pm

    How beautiful, great photos, and wonderful information as always.


  14. nrlymrtl / Jul 7 2013 9:22 am

    Great photos. And thanks for that little tidbit about how to tell an egret and a white heron apart. We have herons in the valley and lately a large white bird – which we think is a heron, but an egret was also a possibility. The next time I see it, hopefully I will be able to check out it’s legs.


  15. Beth F / Jul 7 2013 1:26 pm

    I’m in love with your photos!


  16. joyweesemoll / Jul 7 2013 10:25 pm

    Those are stunning photos!


  17. harvee / Jul 9 2013 6:35 am

    I love watching egrets wading in the marshes around Lake Erie. I’ll have to look more carefully to see if this is one of the species in this area.


  18. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jul 9 2013 9:03 pm

    These are amazing birds — loved seeing these in flight several years ago.


  19. cindy knoke / Jul 18 2013 5:53 pm




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