Light, friendly, and pink-feathered, Fort Myers' most famous bird is a real attention-getter. The roseate spoonbill is a local treasure who captivates the hearts of the Gulf Coast residents who are lucky enough to see it up close.
Want to learn more about this local dweller--and how to make room for it in your Fort Myers backyard? Read on below!
The social spoonbill
Some birds are like lone explorers, mystical creatures who take flight at the first sign of a disturbance.
The roseate spoonbill, however, is not that bird! This species is noted for being social and, as its bright colors might suggest, playful, especially when around fellow spoonbills in a group setting. It's quite fun to watch a few of them in action, stepping through the water and swinging their famous bills back and forth in order to find food beneath the surface.
A playfully pink plumage
Like we said, there's something very playful and almost whimsical about the roseate spoonbill's vivid appearance. While it's not closely related to the flamingo (they come from different families), the two birds do get their characteristic coloring the same way: by feeding on a carotenoid-rich diet that gives them a very saturated pink pigment.
How to spot one
Because of that pink coloring, the two birds do certainly look alike and are often confused for one another by tourists. How do you tell the difference? First, a roseate spoonbill won't usually be spotted doing the same flamingo's famous one-legged pose. Also, their bills are very different. The roseate spoonbill's is, you guessed it, spoon-shaped while the flamingo boasts a slimmer profile.
Making room for the roseate spoonbill
Do you want to see a roseate spoonbill in action? While there's not much you can do to actually attract the bird, they populate the Gulf Coast... so it's not unlikely that one might stumble upon your yard. When they do, you can make your space a little safer by utilizing screens instead of an all-windowed exterior (for softer landings), or adding wind chimes and ribbons to the outside of your windows so that they birds don't attempt to fly inward. They may be simple steps, but they are great ways to safeguard your space for spoonbills and all other kinds of birds!
Of course, if you want to see the roseate spoonbill in its preferred habitat, why not visit the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on nearby Sanibel Island? This is a refuge covered in the mangrove ecosystems roseate spoonbills thrive in.
The next time you're strolling by the beach or spending a lazy afternoon in your backyard, keep your eyes peeled for this one-of-a-kind creature. It's sure to lift your spirits and add some welcome color to your surroundings!