The reddish egret is another of the Florida plume birds that faced extinction early in the 20th Century. During the early 1900s, fashion dictated big hats with fancy plumes. The trade for these feathers endangered many of Florida’s big wading birds, including several types of egrets.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary does a great job telling the story of the people who put their lives on the line to protect the nesting habitats of these birds. Two Audubon rangers died defending nests from plume hunters.
The reddish egret is now making a comeback. There are an estimated 2,000 pairs in the United States and they are year-round residents of Southwest Florida. One of the best places to spot them is at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel. The birds have a unique way of feeding where they prance and splash through the water to stir up fish. It’s an instantly recognizable dance.
Previous Know Your Birds: