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Sarasota News Leader May 17, 2013 Dear Alexis, Thank you for remembering to take the "good" camera and getting this delightfully iconic photo of the Cattle Egret on its traditional perch. Page 74 1851. The Cattle Egret only introduced itself to the continental United States in 1941. By 1953, this gregarious bird, which nests in colonies and gets along very well with our Heron and Egret populations, had established its presence to the point where within 50 years it had become one of the most abundant and common of all the Herons in the Americas. Its U.S. range is from Florida through Alaska. John James Audubon noted the curious relationship between this bird and our American Buffalo in his Ornithological Biography, or, An account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America. He wrote the fol- Does the Cattle Egret mingle among the cattle to eat insects off bovine backs? The answer lowing: is Yes and No. The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus "My astonishment upon first witnessing this ibis), which is actually a species of Heron herd of American bison engulfed in a glowing (Ardeidae family), rests on a supine bovine white halo of these birds was only surpassed and snacks on flies, ticks and fleas. Its truly by my amazement while observing their bold, satisfying meals are eaten while it follows in fleet, fluttering forays into the stampeding bi- the wake of large animals and farming mason's trail of dust as these birds rapacious- chinery. Threshers, tractors, horses and cattle ly devoured flies of all nature and species as stir up the insects in the grasses, and the Catwell as crickets, grasshoppers and all insects tle Egret takes advantage of the tiny creatures' dwelling on the Plains." flight from danger. Around here, the supine Well, actually, I wrote that. You see, Audubon bovine is a safe perch for the bird during its never encountered these birds. He died in afternoon siesta. An Indian Pond-Heron perched on the nose of a water buffalo. Photo courtesy of Rick Greenspun

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