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Portrait of a Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa), Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, September 2016. Canon 5D III, 500mm f/4 IS + 1.4x III, ISO 1600, 1/400 second @ f/5.6, image size 5298 x 3256 pixels.
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), La Jolla, California. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these delicate beauties were nearly hunted to extinction; their elegant snow white feathers were highly prized for fashionable hat decorations. In 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act provided them protection and by the mid 20th century, snowy egret populations were beginning to recover. Today, they inhabit the majority of their original range and snowy egret populations are stable.
Standing motionless, a Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) studies the tide for unsuspecting prey, La Jolla, California. The greatest threat to Snowy Egrets is loss of habitat; shallow fresh and salt water wetlands must be preserved and kept pollution free to ensure the survival of this species.