The elegance of wading birds is impossible to deny – even their plumes bear witness to this fact. In 1886, some 5 million birds were killed for their feathers alone, their fanciful plumes bedecking the hats and finery of the fashionable. Birds like great egrets were hunted nearly to extinction; but just in the nick of time, conservation movements were sparked, as well as some of the first laws to protect birds. Now, thankfully, we can enjoy a bird's plumes where they belong – attached to the bird, as so beautifully pictured in this image of a great egret shot by Scott Heron in Hampton, New Hampshire.
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