October 12, 2020
Pretty in Pink
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
I peek through the thick fronds, and there it is, a 21-day-old roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) chick looking very much like a chicken covered in strawberry ice cream. Its baby bill has just begun to flatten to the species’ distinctive spoon shape and will continue to grow up to seven inches – the perfect length for sweeping through water to scoop up fish.
This little one has begun to move about in the deep nest its parents built with sticks. At one month, the chick will begin a wobbly-looking workout to strengthen its wings. And at six weeks, it will have enough wing span to fly.
The chick’s pale plumage will turn vibrant shades of pink accented with deep red eyes and legs. The only spoonbill living in the Americas gets its rosy color from its diet of shrimp and small invertebrates.