While photographing wading birds in our beautiful marshes, I noticed a Great Egret with a transmitter about the size of a small TV remote on its back and a metal band with numbers on its left leg. Have you seen this bird?
I posted a couple pictures of the bird on NextDoor and received a response suggesting this was the Great Egret named Edward who I learned is tagged and being monitored by the New Jersey Audubon Society.
This began a search for the origin of this bird. I contacted the NJ Audubon folks and learned their bird “Edward” was hanging out at Staten Island and had been in the area for a couple of weeks during the time period I spotted the egret. They did say he winters in the Hilton Head area so maybe we’ll see him this fall.
My research took me to organizations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida. All of the personnel I spoke with were more than generous with their time in helping to track down who might have tagged and banded this egret.
I was referred to Dr Kenneth Myer, Executive Director of Avian Research and Conservation Institute, Gainesville Florida. I provided him with the pictures and the partial band number. Dr Meyer responded and stated the bird is possibly one of the 80 Great Egrets banded and tagged in Louisiana and South Carolina from 2 September 2010 to 23 February 2011. The birds were banded and tagged to gauge effects of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig spill that occurred on 20 April 2010. The partial band number I provided matched the lot numbers of bands used for this group of egrets. Dr Myer stated the GPS-enabled satellite transmitter appears to be the same model used for the study. In order to gain more information about this individual egret, Dr Meyer will need the complete band number.
I last saw the egret just this week in the marsh nearest Deer Pointe and Marsh Gate Drive. The challenge now is to get the remaining numbers of the band so we can learn more information from this bird.
If anyone else has photographs of this bird, please contact me or let SIB know so we can close the loop!
And if you are interested to learn more about migrating birds and how scientists are tracking them to learn more, we hope you will attend our SIB Evening Program with Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at the Lake House on Seabrook Island. Click here to learn more and register!
Article & Photo Submitted by: Glen Cox