Crimson Slippers – Mating Colors of the Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret in Bright Mating Colors Peers through the branches of the nesting colony

Wood Storks aren’t the only species nesting at Wakodahatchee these days. In between being entertained by Wood Stork chicks, it was also fun to watch a couple of pairs of Snowy Egrets fly onto the Pond Apple branches, their temporary home,  and disappear into the dark recesses of the tree island where a nest is hidden from view. I included an assortment because I find the aigrettes and head plums so beautiful to see, erect and all fluffed out when they are excited.  Like the Louisiana Heron aka Tri-Color, they are a sprightly, quick species and you must be equally quick to catch a moment. Two of these images show how very bright red the normally yellow lores and feet get under the influence of mating hormones. Golden slippers have turned a passionate red for dating and mating!! The lores (skin between the beak towards and around the eyes) are startling to see in person, truly fire engine red. With most herons the mating colors are brightest as they attract and begin to mate. Once the eggs are here, the colors will begin to fade and aigrettes will slowly diminish.  Two of these images exhibit exorbitant lore color and the other two are just beginning to show red. The length of time chicks stay at the nest does seem somewhat relative to size as the young of this small heron will leave the nest at 20 to 25 days. The Great Blue Heron chicks will stay close to the nest for 2 up to 3 months with periods of foraging on their own.

It is Spring and all the colors are gorgeous, the birds with their mating garb and the beautiful deep greens and yellow greens of the Pond Apple tree islands they call home.

Snowy Egret Landing at Nesting Site



Snowy Egret Breeding Plumes and colors

Snowy Egret Extended Pose with fluffed aigrettes and crown


~ by Judy on May 21, 2015.

20 Responses to “Crimson Slippers – Mating Colors of the Snowy Egret”

  1. Breathtaking photos! Thank you for sharing.

  2. it’s such joy to read your posts, and seeing the snowy egrets doubles the pleasure.. they are one of my favorite birds – the way they huff and fluff and the lovely way they pair the colors of their attire
    ! they are delicate yet strong willed!

    thanks for letting us peer over your shoulder! i’m in town and so happy that the images loaded instantly and the comment will surely be flying as soon as i hit ‘post comment.’ yay!

    • I think similar things of the Louisiana Heron as I do the Snowy Egret both being sprightly in movement and with personality that is bigger than their diminutive size! I am really glad you were able to visit and comment with no technical challenges. Also, wishing you strength and energy as you recover from being so sick!! Take care!!

  3. I don’t remember seeing such brilliant red before. It really is breathtaking, although the spread feathers and plumes of that first photo are my favorites here. It’s such pleasure, to be able to follow the seasonal changes here. Just think how many people haven’t a clue about the marvels taking place all around them.

    “Crimson slippers” reminded me of the old song called “Golden Slippers.” I love that some of these old recordings can be found online. Do you suppose your birds sing a version about their crimson slippers?

    • Yeah, its true that changes can swirl around you with barely a notice if you don’t stop and look. When I did stop and look in the beginning, it took some learning to realize that the differently colored birds were not separate kinds but rather just dressed up in their breeding outfits. I guess the Snowys must usually sing the “Golden Slippers” song since that is one of their nicknames…the bird with the golden slippers!! The yellow feet are one easy way to identify them. But, they wear the red ones when they don the fancy aigrettes and bright red lore. Nature’s designer clothes can’t be beat!!

  4. Did God create the Snowy Egret to inspire the development of photography? For the two sure do go together well!

    • Perhaps the Man Upstairs gave us this wonderful creation to inspire us to create beauty ourselves! Look at all the sunset and sunrise pictures, color splashed in a grand way inspiring painters paint, photographers to capture and poets to describe!! Great isn’t it?!!

  5. Wakodahatchee sounds like bird paradise. These pictures are simply brilliant, and they make me want to pick up a camera and make a fool of myself each time I look at them.

    • It really is a wonderful place to see. I can think of no other rookery which allows such close viewing of wild birds nesting. Very special. If you click on – Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Spring – you will see a post I made when I first fell in love with the place. There you’ll see a little history on how it came to be. Even though a little longish you might be interested in the info I tried to impart!!

      Thanks ever so much for the lovely comment. It surely inspires me to keep working at it. 🙂

  6. Absolutely beautiful images Judy.

  7. Love the first two shots ~ I’ve never seen Snowy Egrets head plumes like this, and within the deep greens and shadows they really pop. What a great place to experience ~

    • Being so close to a real rookery/heronry is definitely good fortune!! Actually I am getting quite spoiled over the whole thing! It is always interesting to me that I can go there in the early breeding season when its is still technically winter, and the tree islands are just twigs with no leaves or barely evident buds. Then in spring you have walls of green leaves. And, the white birds especially do look glorious against that verdure! Also, since rookeries are all about breeding…I get to see the birds in all their mating glamor such as the head, chest and back plumes not present other times of the year. Thanks for stopping by to take a look!! Always a pleasure.

  8. i liked the different poses which portrays the beauty so nicely 🙂

  9. Look at those plumes! I’ve always been enamored with how their brilliant, elegant white stands out against the dark depths of their nesting stations. You’ve shown that beautifully — such gorgeous contrast.

    • What I was wondering looking at the images is why one has much longer plumes everywhere and the other clearly in flaming red high breeding color has shorter plumes? You can see they are fluffed out, just shorter? Is it a younger adult? As they age do the plumes get more and more luxurious? I don’t know yet?

      • VERY good question – I have noticed that too, and I assumed it was due to age. But that’s a non-professional assumption, hee! 🙂

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