Spoonbills Make A New Friend

Last night we were watching this pair of spoonbills feeding in the shallow water at low tide. It wasn’t long before our pal Mr. A showed up to join the party and proceeded to fish in the same spot as the spoonies. At first the two pink birds seemed a bit flustered and were not sure what to make of this new arrival. But, after a brief discussion, they apparently concluded that the alligator checked out OK so they went right back to fishing. Mr. A’s curiosity was also quickly satisfied since he simply turned around and went over to his little area to fish as well. More on that later…

Spoobill Pair in Salt Marsh

Mr Alligator in Salt Marsh

Spoonbills and Alligator

Spoonbills and Alligator

Spoonbills and Alligator

Spoonbills and Alligator

Spoonbills and Alligator

43 thoughts on “Spoonbills Make A New Friend

  1. They DO look like they’re having an intense discussion about the arrival of Mr A. Looks like your spoonies are sticking around for quite awhile. Lucky you!

    • They did seem to be trying to decide if the situation was OK and apparently everyone agreed is was and went back to fishing.
      We are thrilled to have the spoonies here on a fairly regular basis. We saw 7 on Friday morning.

    • Glad you like these Deb! An alligator *could* potentially grab a bird such as a spoonbill, but when the gator is feeding like this it is after fish and crabs and the birds somehow recognize that. The birds are actually often attracted to a feeding alligator in shallow water. The gator gets the fish all stirred up and easier for the birds to catch. These spoonies are after small fish and especially the tiny glass shrimp which are all over. The gator will scoop up mouthfuls of the small fish but it would rather have large fish or crabs. I have some photos of this gator that found two very large fish!

  2. It completely amazes me to see such different species getting along together so well. Maybe the alligator isn’t hungry? Or maybe he just doesn’t have a taste for feathers. In any event, you’ve left a hint that there’s more to this story – I await the next chapter with eagerness!

    • Oh this alligator was *very* hungry! He was scooping up huge mouthfuls of small fish plus he snagged a few large fish and some crabs. He was still at it when we left for the evening, that’s how good the fishing was. When normal food is that available, the gators will generally ignore the birds.
      I have photos upcoming of the gator with a real big fish!

  3. It all looks easy goin’ down by the swamp….yep…spoonies having a nice chat and the gator just letting them do their thing!! Love the pretty late day light.

    • It was a casual and relaxing evening for all involved except…the fish! 😯 They were getting scooped up on a regular basis by both Mr. A and the birds! Crabs did not fare much better. Tough night to be seafood.

  4. Great photos, Phil. It amazes me in your photos how the alligators just ignore the birds!! Blessings, my friend.

    • Thank you very much Maggie, I’m very happy you liked this series of photos!
      The alligators could go after a bird but rarely do, especially if their normal food source of fish and crabs is available.
      Also the alligator would be most dangerous to a bird when under the water in stealth mode as opposed to fishing like he was here.

  5. Hello Phil,
    sorry for my bad english, I wish I could explain something of my thoughts much better as I do.
    I want to say: Thank you for sharing this magical moment. These beautiful nature-scenes are taking me to far away places which I`ve never seen before. I love the lightning of the sunset on your photos, also the spoonies and the alligator.

    Greetings from Hamburg,

    • Hallo Tanja, ich bin so glücklich, genießen Sie die Fotos!
      Thank you very much for looking and commenting and it is very nice to hear you enjoy seeing life in our marsh back in your home of Germany.
      Hallo aus South Carolina USA

  6. It seems as if the spoonbills discuss and decide that they ignore Mr. A.! And he is loving it. 😛

    Nice pictures!

    What else? Oh, I’m sorry … later.

    … later …

    … later … 😮

  7. No matter how many you post, these images with the birds and Mr. A hanging out together are surprising. Although they seem nonplussed by each other’s presence it seems the gator would chomp a little spoonie for dinner when having the chance.

    • I have seen this behavior many times and have never seen an alligator lunge out and try to snatch a bird even when many get quite close. If there is enough food such as fish, crabs, and shrimp to fill up Mr. A he seems very content with that and ignores the birds. But it is surprising…even to me still.

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