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Snowy egrets were hunted to the brink of extinction a century ago when their long, fluffy mating plumes became all the rage for women’s hats -— fetching up to $32 an ounce. Laws protecting egrets represented one of the nation’s first conservation success stories. Egrets are among 65 species of herons.

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Mark the joyful hour

The snowy egret froze, gazing into his reflection as the wind ruffled his nearly fatal feathers. My heart froze to see him, cast back to the last time I saw my father in the sunlight.

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