National Geographic : 1940 Jan
SOUTH FLORIDA'S AMAZING EVERGLADES the snowy egret was once on the verge of extermi nation by plume hunters (page 117). Federal laws were passed making even the possession of their lacy feath ers a serious of fense. The birds began to increase and continued until now thev are again num bered in tens of thousands. Once more the Ameri can egret wanders as far north as New York State and even Canada in the summer, causing numerous inquiries and astonished re ports from per sons who have seen "a big, snow white crane." As if moving in accordance w i t h some avian time table, flocks of little blue herons and Louisiana herons appeared from the west ward, flying low "OKAY, YOU] over the lake to An Audubon warden ha, the rooker v rural school near Lakepoi - poacher seen in the vicini White ibises, officers in tracking down large birds with movements of birds and curved pink bills and white plumage except for black wing tips, began to arrive at 6:10 p. m. During the next hour, as we sat there in the boat, approximately 45,000 birds flew to the rookery; 35,000 of them were white ibises. They crossed above the lake in long files, the birds following a leader and keeping themselves evenly spaced in line. Some of the files contained several hundred ibises. In general they kept pace with each other, all the birds in line flapping and gliding in unison. In some of the shorter files the timing was so perfect that it seemed as if some invisible coxswain were call- I'otograpn oy LUIS garden NG FELLOWS, THAT'S ALL TODAY!" s stopped two boys on their homeward way from a rton Lake Okeechobee to question them about a ity. Residents of the area give much help to the law-breaking hunters, and inform them about the animals. ing out the beats for his feathered crew. Most spectacular was the manner in which the lines of birds rose and dipped as they crossed the lake. So closely did they follow their leaders that they seemed to be moving over unseen hills and valleys rather than traveling in mid-air. As more and more birds arrived, the chorus from the rookery rose to a raucous din. It subsided again as the great bird city settled down for the night. As in the case of the Florida cranes, it was almost dark when the last files winged their way across the lake.