• Peak breeding activity: mid-April
• Incubation period: 23 - 24 days
• Clutch Size: 3-4 average
• Young Fledge: 42-49 days after hatching
• Typical Foods: frogs, snakes, crayfish, fish, mice, crickets, and aquatic insects
• Ohio Status: Species of Concern
This heron is all white with a yellow bill and black legs. When in breeding plumage, it has lacy plumes on its back.
Habitat and Habits
Within Ohio, breeding great egrets have been largely confined to the western Lake Erie basin. Preferred habitat includes shallow water of marshes, ditches, wet fields, and river edges. The number of great egrets are increasing, and may turn up anywhere in the state, especially in late summer. Their vocalizations are a rapid, somewhat harshly metallic series of clucks and croaks.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Great egrets normally nest in the tallest available vegetation. However, on islands where only shrubby vegetation is available, they have been found nesting on or near the ground. Egret nests are rather bulky stick platforms that may be used for several years. The first clutches are laid during the second half of April with most laid by mid-May. The first young hatch during the second half of May and early June and become independent by mid-July.