Date: 11/2/21 12:21 pm
From: C. S. Wood <cwood022...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Cattle Egrets
Way, way back - pre-eBird, pre-CTBirds, pre-COA - in the mid-1970s Cattle Egrets were a regular occurrence in the Norwalk/Westport area and were suspected of nesting in the heron colony on Chimon Island, although I don’t think my research at the time confirmed breeding by this species but I’ll have to check. Nyala Farm near Sherwood Island was a favored spot because it was an active dairy farm as recently as my high school years at Staples High in the early 1960s. Even still, they were something of a celebrity bird statewide. Noble Proctor kept a rare bird occurrence list on his office door and my regular postings of Cattle Egret sightings were sometimes met with initial skepticism. I believe i predicted incorrectly at the time that they would become regular nesters and common to the state as they had in heron colonies in Rhode Island and elsewhere. But the ephemeral nature of suitable heron colony nesting habitat and the loss of open farm land with cows probably cut short the species’ range expansion into the coastal northeast.

Why they are showing up in numbers now will probably be explained by eBird data analysis in the near future; most likely nearby breeding success combined with recent weather patterns.

A couple Kodachrome flashback photos here:

Chris Wood
Woodbury, CT
203 558-0654

CTBirds, a service of Connecticut Ornithological Association - Bringing birders together statewide. Please support COA:
CTBirds is for the discussion of birds and birding in Connecticut. For list rules and subscription information visit:
Join us on Facebook!