I took this shot of a great egret in breeding plumage at the Audubon Society’s Smith Oaks Sanctuary at High Island, Texas. Each year, beginning in mid-march and lasting for about a month, great egrets that have reached sexual maturity undergo some changes. The area between their eyes and beaks turns bright neon green and long plumes grow from its back. Called aigrettes, those plumes were once prized for ladies’ hats and almost caused the species to be hunted to extinction. Males do most of the courtship displays in this species according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.