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Everglades National Park Birding Tour: Cattle Egret

Many types of Egrets inhabit Everglades National Park including: Snowy, Cattle, Reddish and Great.

evergladesbirding.com cattle egret cold The Cattle Egret is smaller and stockier than others. It is white adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season. It nests in colonies near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. Unlike most other egrets, it feeds in relatively dry, grassy habitats, and is often found with  cattle or other large mammals, since it catches insects they disturbe. In Everglades National Park they are found often in the prairie locales.

Egrets were almost completely wiped out of South Florida by plume hunters in the late 1800's, and thankfully they have made a remarkable comeback in Everglades National Park. evergladesbirding.com cattle egret landingThis is attributable directly to the efforts of Guy Bradley, the first game-warden in the area and others who supported his cause. Guy lost his life in pursuit of plume-hunters and Bradley Key, a small island just outside the Flamingo boat basin, is named in his honor. He was buried on Cape Sable but his grave was washed away in a hurricane. For more information on the Plume Wars and the story of Guy Bradley, I recommend reading Death in the Everglades, by Stuart McIver who was a wonderful writer of South Florida history.