On Cattle Egrets

From the warm subtropics in late Fall in May
They arrive in the coastal south for a few months stay
Their migratory instincts from home takes them far
And they are often seen where grazing cattle are

Frogs and groundinsects and grasshoppers to their taste buds taste sweet
That are disturbed from hiding by the big trampling feet
Of the grazing cattle to the white birds a tasty treat
In Nature some life forms are born for others to eat

Due to their association with cattle one can understand why
That the apt name of cattle egrets to them does apply
Around the big bovines for hours every day
Suppose Nature has designed them for to live in this way

They build their stick nest over water on the crown of a tree
Where the all white female lays bluish eggs of six, five, four or three
In their breeding plumage the males have yellow feathers on their neck, head and face
And out of their breeding season the all white males and females wander from place to place

In late Falland Winter in the coastal south these white birds of the egret family
With the grazing herds one sometimes does see
For their association with cattle they are widely known
And it can be said of them that they have ways of their own.

by Francis Duggan

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