Travel Photo: Cattle Egret on Maui, Hawaii
Note: click image for larger view
One of the things quickly noticeable to baby boomer travelers in Hawaii is that nearly everything in nature is completely foreign to the eye. And, perhaps second only to the tropical flora that makes such a wonderful first impression, Hawaii’s bird population is certain to make its way to your senses as well.
If I got my bird identification right, the is one of Hawaii’s Cattle Egrets. I spied this guy picking bugs out of the bushes very near the ocean and snapped this photograph just as he was spreading his wings to fly away.
The Cattle Egret first came to my attention in the grasslands of Hawaii, the Big Island where they are commonly found mingling around the island’s livestock. In fact, although I don’t have a photograph to share with you, the Cattle Egret is commonly found actually riding the back of the island’s livestock where they find flies and tick to eat. It’s really quite a site to see.
The Cattle Egret is not native to Hawaii. “The Cattle Egret is a popular bird with cattle ranchers for its perceived role as a biocontrol of cattle parasites such as ticks and flies. A study in Australia found that Cattle Egrets reduced the number of flies that bothered cattle by pecking them directly off the skin. It was the benefit to stock that prompted ranchers and the Hawaiian Board of Agriculture and Forestry to release the species in Hawaii.” (via Wikipedia)
And, as Paul Harvey used to say, “that is the rest of the story”. Hope you enjoyed!