Pretty In Pink

By Derek Stoner, Education Program Assistant

A Roseate Spoonbill near Fenwick Island, DE, on July 2, 2009.  Photo by Derek Stoner.
A Roseate Spoonbill near Fenwick Island, DE, on July 2, 2009. Photo by Derek Stoner.

All Birds Bulletin:  Be on the lookout for a rare bird visiting the First State.  The suspect is 3 feet tall, has a huge spoon-shaped beak, and is bright pink! 

In late June, a Roseate Spoonbill arrived in the brackish marshes west of Fenwick Island, Delaware, and made itself at home.  However, “home” for this species is typically the Gulf Coast of Florida and Texas.  Spoonbills are known to occasionally wander northward, but this bird was the first ever documented in the state of Delaware!

Then on July 6th, another Roseate Spoonbill appeared at Fowler Beach, about 25 miles north of Fenwick Island.  Birders verified that these sightings represented two different birds, as both were seen simultaneously.

 A Roseate Spoonbill at Thousand Acre Marsh on July 17, 2009.  digiscoped photo by Derek Stoner.
A Roseate Spoonbill at Thousand Acre Marsh on July 17, 2009. Digiscoped photo by Derek Stoner.

On July 16, yet another Roseate Spoonbill report came in from Thousand Acre Marsh, which is in northern Delaware along the C&D Canal and Delaware River.  Curiously, this bird is in the company of a pair of American White Pelicans, another uncommon visitor to Delaware.   

A Roseate Spoonbill and American White Pelican compare beaks at Thousand Acre Marssh.  Photo by Jay Young.
A Roseate Spoonbill and American White Pelican compare beaks at Thousand Acre Marsh. Photo by Jay Young.

Does this mean that birds typically found in the Deep South are moving northwards due to changing climate and habitat?  That is a question to ponder.  

For now, we will enjoy a taste of Florida in the First State.

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