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Egret Eyeshadow

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Nature in Santa Clarita – it’s not what you look at but what you see.

Wendy Langhans

ImageMakeup - it's a rite of passage for 10-12 year old girls. The actual colors go in and out of favor and the names change every season, but some things never seem to change. One day your tender young daughter enters the family bathroom and later she emerges looking like a cross between a circus clown and a bird of paradise.

This time of year the same thing happens to great egrets. As mating season approaches, their lores (the patch of skin between their eye and bill) changes color from yellow to bright green. This color change happens to both males and females and lasts about a month.

"So what does she see in him?" we might find ourselves asking. After all, to our eyes, both males and females look alike. But what we see may not be exactly what the egret sees. Many birds see in UV light and those plain white feathers might not actually appear white to another egret. This is currently an open area of scientific research.

But in the meantime, with Valentine's Day fast approaching, I can't just sit around and wait for the research to be completed. I may be forced to dig out that old green eyeshadow tucked away somewhere in our daughter's bathroom.   After 25 years of marriage, I wonder if my husband will notice.

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Our next bird hike is scheduled at Towsley Canyon on Saturday, February 17 from 8 -10 AM. Towsley Canyon is located on the Old Road, west of I-5 and about 1/4 mile south of the Calgrove exit.

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.

To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to http://www.hometownstation.com/ or tune in to AM 1220.