After a long day of nest building, the male great egret decided to rest next to his female. A nesting pair of great egrets remain monogamous for a season. The nesting season begins in mid-March along the Gulf Coast and lasts six to eight weeks. Males typically are the first to arrive at the rookery. They begin building nests as a way to attract females. Within a week or two, a nest that measures three feet wide by a foot deep will be completed, the pair begins mating, and the female will begin laying eggs. Within another couple weeks, the chicks will begin hatching out. Within another month, by mid-to-late May, the fledglings will take wing and start the cycle of life all over again. During this time, couples like this appear quite affectionate. They preen and stroke each other and can often be seen sitting like this.