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Great egret: Conservation efforts a success

Smaller than great blue herons and with darker legs, the great egret (Ardea alba) was once prized by the fashion industry for its feathers. In the early 1900s, it was reportedly estimated that there were almost more egret feathers on hats and clothing than on birds.

Organizations such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society successfully got involved to protect birds from being hunted just for their feathers.

great egret

Karen Lebing photo, courtesy USFWS

Great egrets eat mainly fish, but they also eat insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and miscellaneous aquatic creatures.

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is one of nine national wildlife refuges in the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Complex.

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