[Ontbirds] Niagara Falls Great Egret Colony

WilliamWatsonSr at aol.com WilliamWatsonSr at aol.com
Mon Aug 1 17:02:56 EDT 2011

Niagara Falls Ontario Great  Egret Colony 
Since May 20th I have been monitoring the progress of the  Great Egret 
Colony in the Niagara River on the small islands above Niagara  Falls. 
On July 28th when I observed the Great Egret Colony above the  Horseshoe 
Falls from Three Sisters Island, Goat Island, New York, I could see as  many 
as seven Great Egrets and more importantly three of them were crouched on a  
nest and were nearly full size nestlings. It was raining and not the best  
observing conditions, and I relized that I should return under more favorable 
On August 1st (between 12:19 and 12:44 PM) I again observed  the Great 
Egret Colony from Three Sisters Island.  The three Great Egret nestlings were  
very active with strong wing flaps combined with jumping up and down, but not 
 showing the ability to hover. They still had down on their heads. One of 
the  nestlings had wandered onto a branch about two feet above the nest. I 
also  observed a maximum of three adult egrets on the colony, but most of the 
time  during the study period there was only one or two adults.  
Although egrets usually nest on the leeward side of islands, I decided to  
go to Canada and observe. Viewing just north of the Engineerium Building (an 
 historic landmark) (1:44 to 1:55 PM) I could see 15 Common Mergansers, 297 
 elegantly prehistoric looking Double-crested Cormorants, and an adult 
Great  Egret standing over a nest with what looked like about two inactive downy 
Great  Egret nestlings. I then made several observations from just north of 
the  Engineerium to about fifty meters north of the Engineerium. At a 
position about  30 meters north of the Engineerium I could see above the south 
corner of the  sunken barge and below the Double-crested Cormorant nests, a 
Great Egret nest  with four mid-size nestlings. Below this nest was a second 
Great Egret nest  containing three smaller and very active downy nestlings. 
Although I realize  that observational duplication is possible, I think 
(because of the numbers and  ages of the nestlings) that I viewed four active 
Great Egret nests with a total  of twelve nestlings. 
Best Wishes for Great Birding, 
Bill Watson 
Buffalo Ornithological Society  

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