Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

I knew little about the Roseate Spoonbill and certainly had never seen one until I was driving south on Hwy 41 in the Big Cypress Reserve. There, in a pond along the side of the road were these pink birds. They were quite a sight and definitely unique looking which is an understatement.

The Audubon Society states that they are; “Gorgeous at a distance and bizarre up close… “ 

All About Birds adds; “The flamboyant Roseate Spoonbill looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book with its bright pink feathers, red eye staring out from a partly bald head, and giant spoon-shaped bill.” 

Roseate Spoonbills forage in the shallows of fresh, brackish, and marine waters including bays, mangroves, forested swamps, and wetlands and feed in the water by swinging its bill from side to side as it walks through the water. They feed on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and very small fish. 

I'm fortunate to live close enough to the Ding Darling Refuge to visit regularly, it's among the top places in the United States to observe roseate spoonbills but I've seen them along Highway 41 heading south in the Big Cypress Preserve and along Wagon Wheels Road as well. 

Another popular place is Sandy Key, Florida from November through March which is a hub of spoonbill nesting activity during winter. Hundreds of spoonbills can be seen roosting in the islands' trees every evening and depart individually or in small flocks for the mainland at sunrise. Other popular foraging grounds include Mrazek Pond, Eco Pond, and Snake Bight which are spots that I'll be visiting next winter.

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