January 3, 2022
- as seen by -Kaleb King
Growing up in Florida, the abundance of wading birds including herons, various egrets, and ibises was a sight to behold. But there was one bird I sought out – the roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja). Viewing illustrations of them in my books had me yearning to see their bright pink feathers and famous spoon-shaped bills.
I often hiked through shallow, muddy waters hoping to spot the spoonbills. Places like these were usually best because these birds use their sense of touch to search for prey by sweeping their bills through the murky water.
The most relaxing way I found to view them was by kayaking through the calm waters of the Estero Bay. Mangrove keys scattered throughout the bay allow many species of birds to peacefully perch, including the roseate spoonbill.
When I made my way to New York, I was happy to see roseate spoonbills close-up and in person in the Aquatic Bird House at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. When you visit, look for another spoonbill species – the African spoonbill (Platalea alba).