Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roseate Spoonbill

This Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajajai) at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange Texas, checks out the conditions of her nest. The nest, about 10 feet above the water in the lake, is nestled in with those of Great White Egrets, Snowy Egrets, some blue and night herons, and as you can see behind her, Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis).

The bird blind affords a great view without disturbing the birds, especially during the breeding season.

THe Roseate Spoonbill gets the second part of its name from its odd shaped bill which it uses to "spoon" along the bottom of shallow lakes and streams for food. The Roseate part comes from the color. The color comes from the shell fish that the bird eats. The colors seem to intensive this time of year -- I believe that's probably because mom and dad do a whole lot more eating to support the effort of raising young ones.

These birds get a few inches shy of a yard long with wing spans about four and a half feet across.
--steve buser

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