Cattle Egrets Invade America, Circa 1952
As some of you know who ever look at my sidebar, I am currently taking forever to finish reading a book called "Wild America". This is a 1955 book about the U.S. travels of two naturalists, Roger Tory Peterson, American, and James Fisher, British, both of them professional writers. The American is the author of some of the most popular field bird guides in America over the past few decades.
I was surprised to find them carrying on with great glee about the cattle egrets they and others began to spot around America in the early fifties. Sightings occurred in Massachusetts, Florida, and even one in Chicago. The men were practically jumping up and down about sightings of one, two, or three of these birds, finally becoming Glorious with a report from Texas of twenty of the egrets sighted at once!
It seemed surprising to me because cattle egrets have been as common as dirtmore aptly, as common as cattlemy entire life here in Texas, and are not a rare bird in other states. The cattle egrets stay close under the feet of the cows, eating the grasshoppers and so forth stirred up by the large animals. Yum.
So, what I learned was that cattle egrets were totally new to America back when I was about four years old. Peterson had made a special trip from London to Spain only a few years before in order to see these birds! Now the birds had traveled a thousand miles across the Atlantic Ocean to him, though no one knew quite how.
I've read before how some European birds have ended up on the America continent while others have not, or how migration patterns of birds will shift over time until they are no longer seen in their old haunts and they begin to thrive in new locations. Still, I've never been as impressed by such descriptions, it's never seemed as real, as in the case of the 20" high cattle egret, that is so familiar and common in my own neighborhood and time, having been so rare and unexpected in 1952.
"Pick your nose, buddy?"
For other cattle egret photos, see this page.
Allright, I admit my "reviews" are somewhat iffy. They're perfectly true and as accurate as I can make them, they're just not quite reviews! I am not going to back away from them just because sometimes they're screwyI like it that way.