A green egg-shaped head and ham colored feathers. A creature Dr. Seuss would undoubtedly have appreciated. The iconic Roseate Spoonbill was once near extinction but is now a visual treat that is not difficult to see if you look in the right places. Our favorite is the Ding Darling Wildlife preserve.
It can often be seen in small, mixed flocks which can include an occasional White Ibis.
Or a stray Brown Pelican.
Juvenile Roseate spoonbills are nearly white and acquire their bright pink plumage as they mature. A breeding adult is at least 3 years old. With males and females difficult for us humans to distinguish in the wild.
Many bird species enjoy the abundant fish that can be found at Ding Darling where schools can easily be seen even without keen eyesight.
Spoonbills have a unique way of fishing. They swing their spatula shaped bills back and forth, catching small fish, crustaceans and other critters and sifting out the mud.
Just as we loose our hair as we age, Spoonbills loose the feathers on top of their head as they get older. The oldest recorded Roseate Spoonbill was at least 15 years, 10 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during a scientific study of Florida birds.
They sleep standing, usually on one leg, with their head tucked beneath their back and shoulder feathers.
They will take the opportunity in a hot Summer's morning to take a bath
and dry their feathers