Great Egrets can be distinguished by their yellow bills and black legs and feet.
And in Beaumont, they sometimes can be distinguished by the arrow sticking out of them as they wander through neighborhoods.
Beaumont police say they received a call last week that a large white bird that "was going from yard to yard" with an arrow sticking out of it.
We can only assume the bird was bleating madly in Egret, "Can someone please dial 911 and help a brother out? Anyone?"
Police arrived and took the bird to a vet, who, according to Beaumont PD, "removed the arrow and is going to try and nurse the bird back to health. The bird is stable but will undergo X-rays and possibly surgery."
The arrow was a type "commonly used for target practice in archery," police said.
Great Egrets are beautiful, but living near them can be a pain. Their nesting areas can be considered nuisances, and for good reason, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife (Note: Nesting areas are officially called "heronries."):
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Some heronries are considered nuisances when located adjacent to residential areas and airports because of noise, odor, concern about possible health hazards (broken eggs, decomposing birds, associated parasitic insects, and diseases such as psittacosisornithosis, histoplasmosis, encephalitis, and arbovirus), and potential danger to aircraft.
Also, heronries may produce detrimental effects upon nest and roost-site vegetation primarily because of the accumulation of excrement on the plants and substrata (soil and/or water).
Furthermore, newly flighted young may alight in trees bordering driveways and yards situated near the heronry, and their excrement falls upon parked vehicles, yard equipment, lawn furniture, etc.
We bet that "etc." at the end sometimes includes "humans."
The birds are protected under various codes and, as BPD says, "Even under nuisance conditions, one has to have a federal permit to kill them."