Photo by Kyle Sweet
This beautiful, graceful bird has quite the survival story!
As a year-round resident to our barrier islands, the Snowy Egret is one that you can now enjoy seeing at the beach, in the wetlands, or in an island freshwater swamp.
Did you know, however, that the plume trade in the late 19th century nearly destroyed the Snowy Egret population? In the late 1800’s, their plumes were valued at twice the price of gold per ounce!
In the early 1900’s, hunting for plumes was curtailed in the United States. Unfortunately hunting continued in Central and South America due to the European plume trade, but once hunting stopped all together, populations rebounded quickly.
The biggest threat to the Snowy Egret now is habitat loss, as millions and millions of acres of wetlands have been destroyed since colonial times.
Snowy egrets, which are considered heavy feeders, are especially sensitive to environmental changes that reduce available prey. Just one more reason we’re so passionate about coastal wetland conservation!