American egrets at the Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico

TitleAmerican egrets at the Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1934
AuthorsLittle, Jr. E.L.
Conference NameCondor
Date Published1934
KeywordsAmerican egrets, Jornada Experimental Range, observation
AbstractTwo migrating American Egrets (Casmerodium albus egretta) were observed at the Jornada Experimental Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 23, 1934. As this species is not listed in Mrs. F.M. Bailey’s “Birds of New Mexico,” this note is offered as a migration record. Since they probably are becoming more numerous as a result of protection, others doubtless have observed these rare birds previously within the state. These American Egrets remained most of the day around the water tanks at the Headquarters of the Jornada Experimental Range on a desert mesa about 15 miles east of the Rio Grande and attracted the attention of everyone at headquarters. The distinguishing marks of the species--the white plumage, black legs and feet, yellow bill and, on one bird, aigrette plumes--were clearly observed with prism binoculars of 8-diameter magnification at a distance of 125 feet. Pictures were taken at this distance also. The egrets stayed near the tanks with the cattle and were not easily frightened. When approached too closely by people, they would fly to another tank a short distance away. On the morning of October 16, five more egrets on their southward migration were seen at Road Tank, 6 miles northeast of headquarters. In order to be certain these birds were not the smaller Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), the writer examined a specimen of the latter species in the museum of the New Mexico State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Living Snowy Egrets also were seen at Picacho-Bosque on the Rio Grande near Las Cruces where about 25 pairs nested this year.