Sunday, March 15, 2009

GBBD - Roses of a Different Sort

Glancing down the resaca yesterday, it was hard to miss these Roseate Spoonbills, Ajaia ajaja. These mature adults are in breeding plumage. According to John Tveten in The Birds of Texas, many of these birds were slaughtered in the late 19th century for their feathers, which were sought after for ladies hats.

Spoonbills are related to Ibis. When feeding, they sweep their spoon-shaped bills back and forth in shallow waters, grasping small fish, shrimp and other aquatic life.

Is this fluffed up bird doing some sort of mating dance? Or maybe s/he's just trying to keep warm! They seem happy to hang out with the hundreds of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks that have taken up residence on this resaca.
According to John Tveten, the nest is a "crude platform of sticks in a bush or tree". I love that both the male and female help with the nest and take turns sitting on the eggs. A clutch tends to have two or three eggs, which are chalky white with brown specks. Mr. Tveten says that "as the pair exchange places at the nest, they bow and croak to each other". How fun would that be to see!
Well, if this drizzle will go away, I'll get outside and take a few TRUE bloom pictures for a more traditional Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) post. As always, thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for GBBD.


Anonymous said...

Now that is something we will not be seeing in our garden around here. They are so beautiful. What a lucky capture.

Gail said...

They are wonderful and truly flowers of nature! gail

Nancy said...

Aren't the spoonbills an amazing sight. No matter how often I spotted them (which wasn't nearly as often as I liked), they'd give me a thrill.

Rock rose said...

Wonderful roseate spoonbills. I wish they would come on up to Austin

Jean Campbell said...

Gorgeous birds. Thank you for showing us them.

To think, I was impressed by the female cardinal eating my redbud blossoms.

Anonymous said...

Even though I came here looking for flowers, I think the roseate spoonbills are even prettier. I've never seen birds half that beautiful around here!

Mary Beth said...

DONNA - I must admit the spoonbills don't make it into my garden. They hang out in the pasture behind us - thankfully within eyeshot
GAIL - Gardening really is about all varieties of nature! and what good is a garden unless it appeals to animal life of all sorts.
NANCY - It's been two or three years since I have spotted any spoonbills right here at "the home place" - and it is a thrill!

LANCASHIRE ROSE - I'm always a little surprised to see them here - about 7 miles inland as the crow flies - so I think you're right not to expect them in Austin. But we can always hope!

JEAN - I have been trying to attract some cardinals for 10 years now - they prefer the home across the road . . .

Anonymous said...

Those are wonderful spoonbills. Can you help me by translating "resaca"? I'm not familiar with that term but like to travel to spots like the one in your photo.

Thank you.

Mary Beth said...

QUEERBYCHOICE - so glad you love the spoonbills too! Cultivating Paradise is supposed to be about gardening so I always feel like I"m rambling when I include birds, animals, and personal stuff.

MARTHA - a resaca is a stream or small river - the same as a bayou is East Texas.