Snowy egret (Egretta thula) fledglings, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 2015.
There were almost one hundred snowy egret nests on Alcatraz this year! Many were visible to visitors, just off of West Road. It is probably common knowledge that this little white heron had a major population crisis when its beautiful plumes were in demand as decorations for women's hats. Now protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the population has recovered. Snowy egrets nest in colonies in isolated places like barrier islands and marshes, often changing location from the previous year. Distinguish this white heron from other egrets or herons by its distinctive yellow feet with black legs as well as the yellow area in front of the eyes and on the upper part of its black bill that turns red during breeding season.