Mary Goldsmith, a Port Aransas, Texas resident, had a peculiar encounter in her yard.
A giant pink feather gracefully descended from the sky, leaving her in awe and curiosity. Intrigued, she embarked on a quest to identify the mysterious bird responsible for such a unique feather.
This led her to the fascinating world of the roseate spoonbill, a large and pink bird with a distinctive spoon-shaped bill.
“I was in awe the first time I saw one in person,” Goldsmith shares. “Not only is it large and pink, but also has a green [spoon-shaped bill] which it swings back and forth in the water to trap food. It is a very unusual bird.”
As Goldsmith familiarized herself with these remarkable creatures, she discovered that they were not uncommon in her area.
However, her amazement was reignited during a visit to the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. There, she encountered a vibrant roseate spoonbill adorned in breathtaking deep pink, orange, and yellow breeding colors.
“This particular bird was one of the most vibrant I have seen. During breeding season, the roseate spoonbill’s feathers become a deeper pink with accents of orange and yellow. This bird was on fire with breeding colors!”
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The roseate spoonbill’s pink coloration is primarily due to its diet. These birds feed on crustaceans, small fish, and insects that are rich in pigments called carotenoids.
Carotenoids are naturally occurring compounds in various organisms, including algae and crustaceans.
When the spoonbills consume these carotenoid-rich foods, the pigments are absorbed into their system and deposited in their feathers, resulting in their distinctive pink plumage.
The intensity of the pink color can vary depending on age, diet, and breeding season.
During the breeding season, the roseate spoonbill’s feathers may become even more vibrant, with deeper shades of pink and hints of orange and yellow.
This dazzling bird seemed aware of its magnificence and eagerly posed for Goldsmith’s camera, responding to each click.
“It stood right in front of me going through different poses and seemed to respond to the click of the camera,” Goldsmith said.
The enchanting connection between Goldsmith and the spoonbill highlighted their mutual appreciation.
Despite her regular encounters with these extraordinary birds, this encounter left Goldsmith amazed and eager for more surprises that the avian wonders of Port Aransas might have in store for her.