Illustrator Christina Mattison Ebert shares depictions and information on coastal birds
Gaze onto any bayou, bay or marsh in Galveston and it’s likely you’ll catch some long-legged shore birds quietly wading through the shallows searching for food. Not the reddish egret.
If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these lovely island inhabitants, it’s probably because their conspicuous foraging methods include sprinting, leaping and spreading their wings while hunting for small fish. In fact, it’s possible you’ve spotted a reddish egret and not even known it, as this species includes a distinct variation — as the young bird’s downy feathers develop in the nest, its plumage will either become reddish and gray — the “dark morph” — or all white — the “white morph.”
Fun fact: Pete Dunne, a noted author of birding and natural history, once dubbed the reddish egret “the Tyrannosaurus rex of the Flats” on account of their lively, aggressive hunting behaviors.