The new One Word Sunday challenge is Fashion. My initial idea was a photo of a bird species preening. However, birds preen to maintain their feathers, not to make themselves look smart so you can’t really say it’s a fashion statement.
But the idea of birds feathers made me think of the trade in birds feathers for the fashion industry. At the end of the 19th Century colonies of Egrets, Herons and other species were being slaughtered to supply the fashion industry with feathers. Frequently the adult birds were killed in the breeding season leaving the young to starve or be eaten by predators.
An adult Great Blue Heron with its feathers blowing in the wind. Photographed on the Lake Huron shoreline in Southampton, Ontario, Canada.
Are you familiar with the infamous plume trade that supplied the millinery industry just over 100 years ago? This sign at the entrance to theCorkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, near Naples, Florida, provides a glimpse into the history behind this practice . . . and, this incredible place.I cringe to think about it, but literally millions of beautiful wetland birds, like those pictured here, were slaughtered (many, nearly to extinction) in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s – just so their stunning plumage could adorn the hats of fashionable, wealthy women.Read more in this 2018Audubon articleand on Wikipedia, Plume hunting.Thankfully, the advocacy efforts of a group of women eventually led to an end to the plume trade in the U.S., to the establishment of the Audubon Society, and eventually to the historic Migratory Bird Treaty Actover a century ago (Smithsonian Magazine).
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This Yellow-crowned Night Heron was enjoying his grooming in the privacy of this leafy cypress tree, when suddenly . . .He noticed that he was being watched – AND photographed!So, he raised his wide wing to hide from view, and stayed this way for the longest time. I confess, I got the message! . . . Gave up waiting, and moved on down the boardwalk.
When I first started noticing wading wetland birds on my trips to Florida about a decade ago, one particularly large, somewhat awkward-looking bird really caught my eye – the wonderful, one-of-a-kind Wood Stork! Wood Storks are the only stork native to North America, and they are found in the marshes, lakes, swamps and other wetlands of Florida.
One often hears descriptions such as ‘A face only a mother could love’ when people refer to Wood Storks. But personally, I think these lovely creatures are just spectacular! They are uniquely beautiful with their bald heads and extra-long, thick bills, specially designed for capturing small fish and crustaceans in shallow water. We are fortunate to have many breeding Wood Storks in our local wetland preserves. In fact, they are just coming back in greater numbers now, and will soon choose the best nesting spots for the season.However, these extraordinary birds…
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