Roseate Spoonbill – Ding Darling NWR; Sanibel Island, Florida: The Roseate Spoonbill is a wading bird found along the cost from South Carolina to Texas. J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife refuge on Sanibel Island is one of the best places to see these graceful waders. This adult spoonbill was photographed in July as it paused during a feeding foray in one of Ding Darlings many brackish water impoundments.
Spoonbills stand near three feet tall and have a wingspan of almost five feet. With their beautiful pink plumage non-bird watchers often mistake them for flamingos. Flamingos are sometimes seen in Florida Bay between the Florida mainland and the keys, but are very rarely seen as far north as Sanibel Island.
The spoonbill is a tactile feeder. Dipping its spatula shaped bill into the water, the spoonbill swishes its open beak left and right, then snaps shut when it comes in contact with its prey of small fish, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates. The spoonbill gets its beautiful pink plumage from crustaceans that form a major portion of its diet.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 500mm f4, Digital Capture, ISO 200