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…
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.
Love your photos, Phil. Two questions for you: Would an alligator attack and/or consume a spoonbill? And do they actually compete for food; do they eat the same fish? Thanks!
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!
Thanks for the explanations. I love the symbiotic relationship between these creatures!
When I would get nervous is when the alligator goes under water and into stealth mode. That’s when the birds have a real reason for concern.
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!
OMG OMG OMG this is unbeliveable! 🙂 🙂
Thanks! I’m really happy you checked this out and enjoyed seeing the interaction!
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.
Hmmm. Two’s company…..
The spoonies were there first but it’s not easy… no wait, it’s impossible to evict Mr. A once he arrives on the scene and decides the fishing is good this day!
Great photos, Phil. It amazes me in your photos how the alligators just ignore the birds!! Blessings, my friend.
Thank you so much for looking and commenting and I’m happy you enjoyed seeing this interaction!
Great story for that photo set.
Sometimes these stories just write themselves, and this crowd seems to provide their own inspiration. Good for me I guess. 🙂
Beautiful shots and superb lightning Phil.
Thanks Jan I appreciate that!
Yet again, how fascinating is the interation between the species! Do the alligators ever attack any of the birds?
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.
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
It seems as if the spoonbills discuss and decide that they ignore Mr. A.! And he is loving it. 😛
What else? Oh, I’m sorry … later.
… later …
… later … 😮
Yes, there will be more later!
More Mr. A? Yes!
More Spoonies? Yes!
Both Mr. A and the spoonbills look very happy! 🙂
I wonder if alligators find spoonies more delicious than other birds? 🙂
I’m betting the spoonies are hoping that Mr. A never has the opportunity to find out. 🙂
Got that right!
Heh heh 🙂
I am stressed feeling I am too close to the alligator, I don’t know how the spoonbills do it.
The spoonbills seemed surprisingly relaxed about the whole situation. A few ibis came in at one point but they got nervous and left.
Mr Gator kinda looked like he was laughing at their antics…LOL!
Mr. Gator can laugh about just about everything if he wants, he is top of the food chain out there. 🙂
Glad they get along during feeding. Better than being on the menu.
Those two did not want to end up being the Special of the Day…Pink Chicken, served raw. 😯
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.
Mr.Alligator, seems that you didn’t brush your teeth 🙂
Great shots… Thanks and Love, nia
He really should spend more time on teeth care Nia you are right. But he is always so busy. 🙂
I would be more than a bit flustered if that head popped out of the water right next to me. 😯 You really do capture some very interesting and fascinating scenes, Phil.
These guys were too funny just carrying on with business as usual while Mr. A lurked there like a big spiny spider! 🙂