Published: March 1, 2019
By Mark Seth Lender
A Great Egret in breeding plumage. (Photo: Mark Seth Lender)
Living on Earth's Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender remarks on the scene that inspired his essay about a Great Egret's mating dance.
This was not a singular event in the idiosyncratic mating display of one particular great egret. There were a number of males in breeding plumage and this set of behaviors was common to almost all of them. The glances were furtive, sent in different directions, and always at the conclusion of the display. As far as I could tell, at least on the several days I was there to see it, the boys were going to be dancing alone. No one was paying attention.
These lonely egrets, late to the party, were probably the younger ones. Perhaps in the next year of their maturity Nature will be more kind.
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