met this beautiful bird before. It's a Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) that lives in the pond outside my office at California State University at Stanislaus. It's an irresistible photography target. It doesn't worry too much about people strolling by with cameras, and it's plumage is very showy.
according to Cornell, the feathers were twice as valuable as gold, ounce for ounce). They've been protected since the early 1900s and their numbers have rebounded. They are found all over South America, and across the warmer United States. The northern boundary states like Washington, Montana, the Dakotas, and Michigan don't get many chances to see them.