Bizarrely Beautiful

During our stay in Florida, we arrived one morning at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge just in time to greet the sun and say good morning to a handful of Roseate Spoonbill. Their pastel pinks looked so lovely in the early light.

It’s easy to see how they got their name!

I found these birds fascinating to watch. To sat they are bizarrely beautiful would be an understatement.

Spoonbills use their bills to sift through the muck and find food (more by feel than by sight) and have toes with claws (rather than webbed feet) that help them grip the slick bottom of the lake or marsh.

At one point, these beauties were almost extinct as their coveted pink feathers were highly desired for fashion fetishes. The irony is that the feathers get their color from the birds diet, and are fast to fade once they are removed from the bird.

Now, I have to confess, while I wouldn’t want to wear this Spoonbill’s feathers, they do look like they would make a super soft place to nap!

After awhile, a couple of the birds flew off, giving us a good look at their outstretched wings.

Later in the day, we saw some more of these beauties flying against the blue sky, which really made their rosy pink pop!

Hanging out with these Roseate Spoonbill was such a wonderful way to spend the morning. They seemed so peaceful and utterly unperturbed by my presence. Just one more blessing that made the trip to Florida such a treat.

17 thoughts on “Bizarrely Beautiful

  1. Wow those photos are fantastic and the birds are so incredibly beautiful. Well done. Thanks.

  2. A friend of mine who lives in Jacksonville happened on a group of them the week before I was coming down for a visit. Unfortunately we didn’t see them. I’l LOVE to see them in person. I enjoyed your images, particularly the ones in flight, they look rather gangly and awkward in flight. Love the reflection of the one standing in the water too. They are pretty amazing!

  3. Do you ever give permission to use one of your photos as reference for a painting?

  4. Unusual as that bill may be, they make it work so beautifully that it is difficult to imagine the spoonbill without their trademark. And your photographs are extraordinary too, Kathy!

  5. I just caught up a bit with your posts of your Florida trip. You visited a couple of our very favorite spots! And brought back some outstanding photographs to boot!

    There aren’t many wild “pink” animals in nature so encountering the Spoonbills is always memorable. Your images are terrific!

    Last week we were able to spend 14 hours at Merritt Island (900+ images) and can’t wait to go back.

    Thank you for sharing some of your vacation shots!

    1. Isn’t Merritt Island wonderful! I could seriously spend oodles of time there. I liked the Orlando Wetlands also because it was easy walking and lots to encounter. Next time I make a Florida trip I’ll have to get your suggestions!

  6. I’ve read that flamingo are pink because they only eat shrimp. This bird looks as if it could be a relative with the obvious exception of the spoon bill. Both are waders. Do they congregate in flocks too? That pink color is really beautiful.

  7. Kathy, could I have permission to use your photographs for watercolor or pastel painting? I’m especially interested in the sandhill crane photos and these of the roseate spoonbill. Please let me know.

  8. Amazing shots of the spoonbill in flight. I’ve enjoyed seeing these birds in the wild on a couple of occasions, but your photos really emphasise what beautiful creatures they are!

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