If you love herons, egrets, and other colonial nesting wading birds, be sure to plan a bird watching trip to the rookery at the UTSMC. This amazing rookery has been a nesting area for many colony-nesting species for over 50 years, all within a spot that doesn’t even cover four acres. More than 70 species of birds have been identified at the rookery at the UTSMC, including Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, and more. Located just miles from downtown Dallas, Texas, this rookery has been protected by the UTSMC since 1938. The best time of year for bird watching here is between late March and late September, where you will see large colonies of nesting birds. For more tips on finding and identifying just a few of the species you may see while bird watching at the UTSMC, see below.
Great Egret. This large egret is easy to identify while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC, where you will know it from its yellow eyes and bill, as well as its black legs and feet. Look for it at the rookery, hunting for fish, lizards, frogs, insects and snakes. You’ll see its nest of sticks in shrubs and trees over the water at the rookery at the UTSMC. The Great Egret is the symbol for the National Audubon Society.
Cattle Egret. Identify this small egret while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC from its stocky white body and the pale orange patches on its head, neck and back. It also has orange eyes and an orange bill and legs. Cattle egrets feed on insects, and are usually found foraging in grass, not water. Look for its shallow, bowl shaped nest of sticks in the trees and shrubs while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC.
Snowy Egret. Look for this small, beautiful egret hunting for insects and fish while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC in Texas. You will easily recognize it while bird watching from its white body, long black bill, and yellow eyes and feet (its legs are black.) This lovely egret has feathery plumage and a long, slender neck. You’ll find its flat, shallow nests, made from sticks and lined with tiny twigs and leaves, in the trees at the rookery at the UTSMC.
Little Blue Heron. Identify this medium-sized heron while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC from its purple head and neck, as well as its gray body and yellow eyes. It also has dark legs and feet, and a dark bill tipped in black. Juvenile members of this species are all white. Look for it hunting for crustaceans and large insects in the water. The Little Blue Heron’s nest is made from long sticks, lined with leaves, and can be found in trees and shrubs while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC.
Tri-colored Heron. This medium-sized heron has bluish gray upperparts, as well as white stripes on its foreneck and a white belly. Recognize it while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC from the white plumes on the back of its head, and the rust colored plumes on its lower neck. Its bill and legs are olive colored. This is the only dark heron with a white belly. Look for their nests, composed of sticks, in the trees or lying on a bed of reeds, while bird watching at the rookery at the UTSMC.