This Roseate Spoonbill was fighting for some space in the rookery. The scene was St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s natural rookery where all the wading birds are wild and free to come and go as they please. A Snowy Egret had wandered too close the nest of the spoonbill and was greeted with great squawking and wing flapping. A war of words ensued. But in the end no harm and no foul.
At first glance, it is odd that all these wading birds would nest in trees surrounded by gators. That is until you realize that the main threat to eggs and chicks is not from falling and being eaten by gators, it is being poached by a raccoon! You know what a good deterrent for raccoons is? That’s right, alligators! Somehow the birds have figured out over the centuries that raccoons cannot raid their nests when the trees are surrounded by alligators. Bird brain not so much. That’s genius. I know people who have tried and failed to keep raccoons out of their trash.
But seriously, if you love wading birds like I do, go to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm during breeding season. The chance to be near to so many birds is amazing. A real bucket list location for the avid bird lover or photographer. It is worth every penny of the admission fee.