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Cattle Egrets in Ventura County, California

Walter F. Nichols
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
69
Issue: 
6 (November-December)
Section: 
Short Communications
Year: 
1967
Pages: 
608

Cattle Egrets in Ventura County, California.-On 30 October 1966 four Cattle Egrets, Bubulcus ibis, were observed at the Point Mugu Game Preserve which adjoins the northeast side of Point Mugu Naval Air Base, Ventura County, California. Point Mugu Game Preserve includes 350 acres of waterfowl habitat, with ,230 acres of freshwater ponds divided by dikes. Fifty to 150 cattle are grazed throughout the year on the property.

I am acquainted with the Cattle Egret, having seen it in East Africa. The birds were close to the cattle at all times and moved with them as they grazed. This movement was similar to their behavior pattern among the elephant, Cape buffalo, cattle, and other herd mammals in Africa.

The caretaker at the game preserve stated that he first noticed one Cattle Egret in September 1965, and it stayed with the cattle until March 1966. He did not see it again until September 1966, when four of the birds returned to the preserve.

I saw the birds again on 3 November 1966, and one specimen was collected (W. F. Nichols No. 624, adult 0 with fully ossified skull), which has been deposited in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, at Berkeley (No. 156676). On 6 November 1966 the Cattle Egrets were observed again, and another was collected (W. F. Nichols No. 625, adult 0 ), which is now in the Los Angeles County Museum (No. 61060).

This record of the Cattle Egret in Ventura County, California, appears to document the northward spread of the Cattle Egret in California. This location is 150 miles north of Imperial Beach, San Diego, California, where it was first observed and collected in 1964 (McCaskie, Condor, 67:89, 1965) and 230 miles northwest of the Imperial Valley where it has been observed (Audubon Field Notes, 18:386, 1964 and 19:416, 1965).-WALTER F. NICHOLS, 65 North Madison Avenue, Pasadena, Calijornia 91101, 7 November 1966. 

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