Snowy Egret, along the South River, Maryland, June 2020.
(Photos: Clandestine Wren Photography)

Snowy Egrets, which grace shorelines and marshes around the Chesapeake Bay, truly seem to define elegance.

Thus the reason they were hunted to near extinction in the United States to supply feathers for the millinery trade. In 1886, the plumes of Snowy Egrets were selling for $32 an ounce, more than the price of gold. In one nine month period, the London hat making market consumed the feathers from 130,000 egrets.

Today, their commonness is due to protections put in place in reaction to that devastation when Congress passed the Migratory Bird Act of 1913, banning market hunting and interstate transfer of birds.

Last week, the egret above was on the hunt for food along the shoreline of the South River on the Chesapeake’s western shore in Maryland. Find out whether the bird got its meal by viewing the 30 second slide show below.

And take pride and hope in the fact we see this elegant sight today only because of the dedicated conservationists who came before us.