A roseate spoonbill who flew away from the Palm Beach Zoo more than a week ago is still missing. Teaspoon, who was part of the Zoo’s interactive bird show “Wings Over Water,” went missing on Friday, July 26th. She was sighted flying over the Zoo that evening, but has not been seen since.
“She’s a typical bird,” explained Jan Steele, General Curator for the Zoo. “We do positive reinforcement training, so we wouldn’t discipline her for doing what’s natural. She merely wanted to explore, and flew off during a free-flight training session.”
The Zoo received hundreds of phone calls for spoonbill sightings, so Steele is reminding the public that Teaspoon will have a small, silver, metal anklet around her left leg. She is a medium-sized bird with pink feathers and a white underbelly, similar to a flamingo, but with a bill shaped like a spoon. Without the identifying band on the leg, a spoonbill sighting is likely to be of a wild spoonbill.
Melissa Dolinsky, a Bird Trainer who worked with Teaspoon during “Wings Over Water,” believes part of the spoonbill’s inclination to fly away may have had to do with this time of year.
“It’s breeding season, and (Teaspoon) had been trying to nest,” said Dolinsky. “She had been gathering sticks in the Zoo’s mango grove, picking the sticks off the ground and building a nest. She may have been in breeding mode, but her brother, Spork, still misses her.”
“Perhaps she was looking for a boyfriend in the wild,” agreed Steele. “We wouldn’t want to discourage her. But it would be nice if we knew what happened to her for sure, so we are still asking the public to keep an eye out for Teaspoon.”
The Zoo’s “Wings Over Water” (WOW!) show showcases natural avian behaviors while educating guests on the biology, natural history, behavior, and conservation of numerous bird species. Spork, Teaspoon’s brother, is still on display during WOW! To find out when the show occurs, visit this link: http://www.palmbeachzoo.org/daily-schedule