|Roseate Spoonbills and Pelicans
Roseate Spoonbills feed in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging their bills from side to side as they steadily walk through the water,
often in groups. The spoon-shaped bill allows the spoonbills to sift easily through mud. Spoonbills feed on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs,
newts and very small fish ignored by larger waders.
Our first encounter was with just one Roseate Spoonbill at a location a little east of Everglade City off of Highway 41.
Sanibel Island is known for Roseate Spoonbills, and fortunately we had good luck on day one there.
Below, a brown pelican watches as a spoonbill lands at Sanibel.
Our first morning, there were about a dozen spoonbills on a sand bar close to the road at J. N. Ding Darling Reserve on Sanibel.
The morning was great as we had the sunrise behind our backs. In the evening we were taking our pictures against the sunset which meant we
had a backlit effect.
A snowy egret watches two spoonbills bathe.
|The birds make a great display for us as they dried off from their baths.
Sometimes pictures come in the most unexpected places. Driving past a house in an Indian village, we observed this spoonbill in the swamp
like front yard of a house.
One of the largest North American birds, the American White Pelican is majestic in the air. The birds soar with incredible steadiness on broad,
white-and-black wings. Their large heads and huge, heavy bills give them a prehistoric look. On the water they dip their pouched bills to scoop
up fish, or tip-up like an oversized dabbling duck. We watched groups of pelicans work together to herd fish into the shallows for easy feeding.
The American White Pelican can be seen on inland lakes in summer and near coastlines in winter. Many of these migrate from Canada in the
Many bird species are very territorial and constantly bicker with each other. Not pelicans. They are very sociable.
The Brown Pelican is a comically elegant bird with an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body. Squadrons glide above the surf along
southern and western coasts, rising and falling in a graceful echo of the waves. They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of
impact to stun small fish before scooping them up. They are fairly common today—an excellent example of a species’ recovery from pesticide
pollution that once placed them at the brink of extinction.