THE TALE OF THE ROSE COLORED SPOONBILL

THE TALE OF THE ROSE COLORED SPOONBILL

Categories: Announcements, Blog, Everglades, Everglades Restoration, Everglades Science Forum, Foundation Science, Science Forum

BY DR. RUSCENA WIEDERHOLT

Let’s start at the very beginning… the land was once dotted with these pink beasts, a mix of both the beautiful and bizarre. Flocks of these peculiar birds were once abundant, their domain stretching from the far-flung reaches of South America to the sandy shores of the southeastern US.

Rose colored curlews, or in modern times, Roseate spoonbills, were adorned in shades of pastel to magenta pink. To maintain those pretty pink coats, they ate pigment-containing prey like shrimp, fish, small crustaceans, and insects. The only wading birds to rival their rosy flamboyance were the American flamingos. Next to the long necks, curving bills, and black-tipped wings of the elegant flamingos, the spatula-billed, stouter spoonbills were akin to an unsophisticated stepchild. Still, in their own family of six spoonbill species dotted across the globe, they were the only pink one, cause for some pride at least. It was a golden time for spoonbill populations, but like many good things, it came to an end.

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