In concluding this three part article on the long-legged waders of Chautauqua County, I want to thank those of you for contributing data and photographs of local plant and animal species for these articles. While discussing the long legged wader birds of our county, records maintained by me from the old Chautauqua County Birding Hotline and from independent calls from many of you indicate that there are 11 species in this group of large wading birds that have been sighted here in our county over the years and have been reported to the former county birding hotline along with prior records maintained by the late Dr. Willard Stanley, my article predecessor Allen Benton and yours truly. This week's article will conclude the report of the long legged waders by highlighting three members of this group reported over the years in our county. These three birds are the Least Bittern, Snowy Egret, and the Cattle Egret.
Starting with the Least Bittern, which was normally a northern Canadian breeder, is now found along the eastern seaboard from southern Florida to Mexico. However, as recent data has been recorded on its breeding history, it indicates that later breeding census work has uncovered more indications of more nesting activity described than earlier suspected. While, It still maintains a breeding stronghold in the Adirondacks than was previously determined. Some scientists responsible for breeding studies still feel that while data on breeding birds has increased, further work needs to be completed before accurate information on this particular species needs to be determined.
The next member of this group is the magnificent Snowy Egret. While few breeding records are reported from recent census, scientists urge caution in data analyses as recent census work is recording breeding population declines in several sections of our state. Consequently this bird should be watched by those responsible for identification studies for possible disappearance in areas of our state. This bird is usually most numerous in our state from August through October and should be counted during that time for population indicators. A good task for local bird groups to undertake.. The last bird in this group to be discussed is the Cattle Egret. This is a bird that was not reported in New York state until around 1970. Since then, numerous nesting colonies have been reported throughout our state boundaries, and should be watched for by birding enthusiasts for sightings during the spring months of mid April to mid May, and during the fall migration from mid October to mid November.
The Cattle Egret is recorded as an old-world species of bird arriving in North America from South America around 1891 or 1892 and first reported as nested in our country around 1953. Primarily, It is the only heron in our country that breed in its first year of age.
Photographs, nature sightings and article suggestions can be sent to me by U.S. Mail at 38 Elm St. Fredonia, N.Y. 14063, or by e-mail at email@example.com Thank you.