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The Population Of The Reddish Egret Is Evidently Dropping

Apr 06, 2016 04:15 AM EDT
Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) individual, Florida
A Reddish egret glides over a body of water in Florida.
(Photo : Jan Wegener/BIA/Getty Images)

The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Florida and Mexico are just some of the places that witness the spectacular coastal bird, the Reddish egret. Unfortunately, this fascinating bird is slowly declining in number and is lately becoming a rare sight.

The population of reddish egret has come down drastically, with just 400 nesting pairs in Florida. In fact, the reddish egret is one of the rarest heron seen in America.

In the 1880s, the Reddish egret was slaughtered in large numbers for the sake of fashion, when women wore plume hats. Egret feathers were then considered one of the best for hats and so they were hunted down, leading to their massive decline.

Those who survived still lingered around coastal areas.

The Tampa Bay area witnessed the first breeding pair in 1974, after which the place became quite popular, attracting many visitors. The numbers increased until 2005 when nearly 40 breeding pairs were spotted.

After this period, however, there was a population decline.

The reddish egret struggles to survive due to pollution and habitat loss. Tourists who disturb their dating rhythms also have a negative impact to these birds.

In order to protect this bird, the reddish egret is sheltered by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is also considered as a State Species of Special Concern by Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.

Reddish egrets are often seen jumping and spinning in order to catch its prey. Andrew Cox, a researcher with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in St. Petersburg, said there is an aesthetic value in having this species here. 

He added that people love to see the bird hopping around to catch the prey, though a rare sight it is. So we must all do our part to raise awareness and protect it from extinction.

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