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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Egret

Capt. Lewis, August 2, 1804--This day one of our Hunters brought me a white Heron. this bird as [is] an inhabitant of ponds and Marasses, and feeds upon tadpoles, frogs, small fish &c. they are common to the Mississippi and the lower part of the ohio. River, (ie) as high as the falls of that river.

this bird weight two lbs. it’s plumage is perfectly white and very thin   from extremity of beak to the extremity of toe [it measured] 4. F 7 1/4 I   from tipp to tip of wing on the back 4 F. 11. I.

it’s beak is yellow, pointed, flated crosswise and 5. Inches in length. from the upper region of the bill to the eye is one inch in length, covered with a smoth yellow skin the plumage of the head projecting towards the upper bill and coming to a point a[t] an Inch beyond the eyes on the center of the upper bill. The mouth opens to distance of the eyes. The eye is full and projecting reather, it is 7/10 of half an inch. four joints in the wing.

1stjoint from the body in length6 inches
2nd 8 1/4;
3rd 3 1/2;
4th 1.
1stJoint Number of feathers7 Length of 3
2nd 18
3rd 6. from 10 to 12
4th 5. 12

it’s legs are black, the neck and beak occupy 1/2 it’s length. it has four toes on a foot, the outer toe on the right foot is from the joining of the leg to extremity of toe nails 4 Inch. & 1/4 has four joints exclusive of the nale joint, the next is 4 3/4 inches has three joints exclusive of the nale joints. the next is 3 3/4 and has two joints, the heel toe has one joint only and is 3 Inches in length. the nails are long sharp and black. the eye is of a deep seagreen colour, with a circle of pole yellow around the sight forming a border to the outer part of the eye of about half the width of the whole eye. the tale has 12 feathers of six inches in length. the wings when foalded are the same length with the tale.

has 2 remarkable tufts of long feathers on each side joining the body at the upper joint of the wing. these cover the feathers of the 1st joint of the wings when they are even extended.

 
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