Hanging with the spoonies

The roseate spoonbills that live at the Florida Aquarium have a big aviary to hang out in. Early in the morning if you get there when they first open, the spoonbills usually hang out right up front, at the edge of the water in the exhibit. It was quiet and they were running around feeding and squabbling over the best spots. As the aquarium gets busy the spoonbills fly up in the trees and nap. It’s cool to see these beautiful birds up close.

Beautiful faces up close

It’s rare to get this close to roseate spoonbills. I see them occasionally in the ponds and ditches around work but they are usually far away. There are several that live in the aviary at the Florida Aquarium and they seem to be comfortable around the crowds. You can’t get close enough to touch them but closer than out in the wild. All are permanently injured with a wing or an eye missing and live here now. They develop more color in their faces as they get older during breeding season. These were all taken with my 200mm lens and cropped.

There are a few other birds there as well such as this ibis trying to eat something that doesn’t look like food.

Views from outside the aquarium.

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Love is in the air – Skywatch Friday

Caution – Spoony porn below. Excessive pinkness going on. Proceed at your own risk!


I stop at the alligator exhibit and see two spoonbills sitting together in the short palm trees. I don’t think anything of it but hope that a future nest would be great. I didn’t want to get too excited. Two years ago a couple nested here but last year they did not.  I walked around the area for a few minutes and then was about to head back to the see the baby elephant when the below started to happen.


Is it???? Yes, it is!!!  Spoonbills mating. I started snapping away. No one else noticed. They were all too busy looking at the sleeping alligators below.


Yes, I know, I’m intruding on their bedroom. But they were doing in right in the middle of the zoo. They could have found some nice quiet woods anywhere else.


It was over in a flash. Or at least 20 snaps.


You’re thinking “It’s over. He’s outta there.”


He flew down to the ground close by and picked up a stick. Not just any ole stick. This was his third stick he picked up. He was finding just the right one.


He flew into the tree with his stick.


And flew over to her and presented her with the stick. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. No diamonds, no candy. Just a stick.


She’s like “Gimmi the stick all ready.”


He gives here the stick.


She takes it and puts in the crook of the palm tree. After this they settled down and looked like they were ready for a nap.

Sometimes timing is everything. I had about two hours to kill two Sunday mornings ago so I headed to the Lowry Park zoo which is close by to see the baby elephant again. When I first got there the baby elephant was way in the back of the exhibit playing behind a bunch of logs. I decided to do a quick lap of the zoo and see if any wild birds were hanging around the alligator exhibit yet. Wild egrets and herons nest there in the spring. They build nests in the big oak and palm trees around the exhibit. There were already a lot of great egrets sitting on nests high up in the oak trees. I saw the two spoonbills sitting together on a short palm tree and thought “Wouldn’t it be great if they nested here again like they did two years ago.” I was just about to walk away to head back to the elephants when I saw the flash of pink flying. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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