"Is That a Flamingo?!"
by Zach Martin, Armand Bayou Nature Center Education Department
Photos by Lyman Brown
If you have kept your eye to the sky recently, then you might have noticed what appear to be flamingo escapees flying about.
However, these sightings are not that of the iconic pink bird that you may have encountered at the local zoo or even seen in a magazine or television program, but they are our very own native Roseate Spoonbill. Observable all through the Gulf Coast, these birds find temporary residence within the bays and estuaries of Texas between March and October. The Spoonbill uses its "spoon-like" bill to forage for small shrimp, which dine on pigment-producing algae, theoretically causing the Spoonbill's pinkish or roseate hue. Although these marvelous creatures are indigenous to our region, they find the wet winters of Texas to be intolerable, encouraging them to migrate to warmer climates in Central and South America. Now, when Spring comes around and our feathered friends return, you will no longer ask, "Is that a flamingo?!"