jerry jackson
Photographed by Bette Jackson

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Source: Egrets 2

Length of Segment: 00:01:11

Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The great egret is North America's largest egret and can be found throughout the United States and into southern Canada. Within its family in North America, only the great blue heron is larger. The great egret is a year-around resident of Florida and its populations swell in winter with the arrival of northern migrants. Standing nearly three feet tall on nearly foot-and-a-half long black legs, the great egret has pure white plumage, a three inch long yellow dagger-like bill, yellow eyes, and bare, bright-green skin between its eyes and its bill. Skin color brightens and the long filamentous egret feathers are at their finest as the breeding season approaches. Otherwise, the great egret looks much the same year-around. The great egret is a generalist among egrets; it finds food in almost any wetland habitat and its numbers have increased in recent years. As it moves between wetlands, it flies slowly with a steady, flapping flight, its legs extended behind, and neck held in an ‘F’ shape; a posture resulting from special muscles these birds have that allow fast, accurate stabbing of prey.

'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.

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