Out There

SCI­EN­TIFIC NAME

Canadian Wildlife - - CONTENTS - Text and photo by Wayne Lynch

The cat­tle egret (Bubul­cus ibis), a rare tran­sient species in Canada, is the most wide­spread heron in the world. How it got here from Africa, no one re­ally knows

RE­GION

Rare tran­sient species pri­mar­ily in south­ern Canada, from Bri­tish Columbia to New­found­land

CON­SER­VA­TION STA­TUS

Glob­ally se­cure; 100-500 breed­ing birds in Canada

WHY SO SPE­CIAL?

The only African avian im­mi­grant to move to Canada

COOL FACTS

This globe-trot­ting egret is the most wide­spread and abun­dant heron in the world. The story of its im­mi­gra­tion to Canada be­gins with a hur­ri­cane in the eastern At­lantic off the west coast of Africa. One day, around 1890, a small flock of these itin­er­ant egrets, or per­haps even just a sin­gle egg-laden fe­male, was sky­jacked by the winds of a trop­i­cal storm and trans­ported 4,600 kilo­me­tres across the At­lantic Ocean to Suri­name in South Amer­ica. By 1933, this adapt­able wad­ing bird was nest­ing in the Caribbean. In 1941, it was spot­ted in the United States, and by 1952, it had strayed into Canada. Since then, rov­ing cat­tle egrets have been sighted in ev­ery prov­ince, as well as in the Yukon and North­west Ter­ri­to­ries. A few years ago, a starv­ing stray egret was spot­ted in Churchill, Man­i­toba. Soon af­ter, a hun­gry po­lar bear abruptly ended its travel ad­ven­ture.

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