Once on the brink of extinction due to a high demand for its white feathers, the Snowy Egret has rebounded since coming under the protection of US Law and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Groups of the beautiful white birds can often be seen gracing the banks of the Los Angeles River, wading through the shallows in search of small insects, fish, and crustaceans.
Such unexpected populations of birds and wildlife along the river are a powerful symbol of nature's persistence and adaptation in the face of an ever-changing environment. The Blue Heron, in particular, has become a prominent mascot for nature in the city, its distinct and majestic silhouette displayed on signage for the river throughout the city. An elusive and somewhat rare bird, there are many living within the WHERE wildlife reserve, in the Glendale narrows, and all the way down to Long Beach. With a little bit of luck and patience, birdwatchers can spot Blue Herons sitting quietly on the riverbank or wading through the shallows in search of their next meal.
Above, ecologist Dan Cooper explains the two species of Egrets and the Great Blue Heron.