An unmistakable and improbable-looking bird.

-Pete Dunne

For me, one of the best parts of going to Florida for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival is the chance to see Roseate Spoonbills. Ever since I saw my first spoonbill, a vagrant in New Jersey, I have been a bit obsessed with the big, pink, bizarrely-billed birds. Three years ago I shared a gallery of images of spoonbills at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge but I think it is time for another. You can never get enough spoonbill!

These photos were all taken during the 2015 Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival at Biolab Road and T. M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area. I think that this gallery far surpasses what I managed to do three years ago and I hope you agree! All of these images have bigger versions available if you click on them.

Roseate Spoonbill

Early morning light on a Roseate Spoonbill is awesome. So is a spot where they predictably fly around, like the entrance of T. M. Goodwin, where this shot was taken. I spent twenty minutes just enjoying the spoonbills before tearing myself away.

Roseate Spoonbill flying

Look at all that pink!

Roseate Spoonbill foraging

This young bird was one of dozens of spoonbills feeding in the north impoundment at T. M. Goodwin.

Roseate Spoonbills feeding with Snowy Egret

Though spoonbills like feeding with their own kind they are often joined by egrets and ibises. Here a Snowy Egret joins the spoonbills.

Roseate Spoonbill tossing food into its mouth

Success! This young Roseate Spoonbill is tossing its catch into its mouth.

Roseate Spoonbills flock

After a raptor spooked the spoonbills a whole bunch flew to this machinery. I took a couple of quick pictures and then raced to get around to the other side where the light would be better. Unfortunately, a woman with an iPhone had the same idea and she walked to close, flushing every single bird. Such are the trials and travails of being a big, pink bird. Irresistible!

Fortunately, it didn’t take too long for them to get back to feeding, which is when I took this video. (Sorry about the wind noise.)

Roseate Spoonbill directly overhead

Biolab Road in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see spoonbills in flight at the end of the day. Sometimes, you get lucky and they literally fly directly over you.

Roseate Spoonbill against a pink sky

Can anything beat a pink bird against a pink sky? I doubt it.

If you liked these images of Roseate Spoonbills and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

10,000 Birds is a Scrub Jay-level sponsor of the 18th Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.


Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.