For the Birds Column: Difference between Snowy and Great Egrets

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Egret looks for food in Norwalk Harbor.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Egret looks for food in Norwalk Harbor.

Here’s my latest For the Birds column, which describes the differences between Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets. For the Birds runs each week in the daily newspapers of Norwalk, Conn., and Keene, N.H. If you are out of those areas, tell your local newspaper about For the Birds and perhaps the column can get up and running there, too.

Here’s the column:

There are not many birds out there that have feet a different color than their legs.

From the top of their legs to the bottom of their “toes,” most birds are uniform in color. With many birds, such as songbirds and small shorebirds, the topic is fairly insignificant because their legs and feet are so small and rarely seen anyway, that it hardly matters to a birdwatcher whether they are the same color or not. But with some birds, specifically herons, egrets and other waders, their legs are not insignificant at all. Even so, most of these tall birds have uniform coloration in their legs and feet. Heck, even the Blue-footed Booby has blue legs, too.

But New England boasts one notable exception. It is even more notable because this bird is often confused with another species often seen in the same habitat.

It is the Snowy Egret, which has black legs and yellow feet. Snowy Egrets are seen along coastal and brackish waters from spring through fall. They are rarely seen inland on fresh-water bodies of water. They are a handsome bird with brillian

The rest of the column may be found here. 


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