Photo 213640, (c) greglasley, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Greg Lasley

Attribution © greglasley
Cc by nc small some rights reserved
Uploaded by greglasley greglasley
Source iNaturalist
Associated observations

Photos / Sounds



Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis ssp. ibis




May 1, 1988


Cattle Egret
with Barn Swallow it has caught
Dry Tortugas, Florida
1 May 1988

Cattle Egrets are a species known to wander. They made it to the U.S. on their own in the early 1950s and are now a common species all over the Americas. I once found a dead Cattle Egret on a rocky beach in Antarctica. There are no insects on Antarctica, so that particular Cattle Egret just wandered too far. Such might be said for Florida's Dry Tortugas. They are called "dry" for good reason. There is no fresh water. Birds that end up there and are too tired to move on, simply die. It is a daily task of employees at Fort Jefferson to walk around and pick up and discard the Cattle Egret carcasses before they open the fort to the birdwatchers each spring day. On this day my group watched a starving Cattle Egret (there are few large insects for the egrets to feed on) grab a Barn Swallow. It certainly made for a strange scene!

Associated taxa