Today, the Great Egret is a powerful symbol of early conservation efforts mounted to safeguard it and other species from overhunting for their feathers in the 1800s. Protection in the early 1900s is credited with population recovery and establishment of the Great Egret as a breeding species in Michigan approximately 50 years ago.
…Great Egrets reach the northern edge of their U.S. distribution in Michigan. Historically, there is no evidence that this species nested in Michigan until the 1950s. For example, Barrows (1912) and Wood (1951) did not report Great Egrets as breeders in Michigan at the time of their studies, but Kelley et al. (1963) confirmed nesting in 1954 by nine pairs on Stoney Island (Detroit River) and seven on Dickinson Island (Lake St. Clair). These colonies appear to have persisted into the mid-1970s when W. Scharf et al. (1978) documented egrets at these sites in 1976. Although these colonies were no longer active at the time of the 1989-91 Great Lakes Colonial Waterbird Census, Sharf and Shugart (1998) reported new colonies in Saginaw Bay and at Pte. Mouillee State Game Area, Monroe Co.
More Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.