The roseate spoonbill is a large colorful wading bird that is found in wetland in the coastal Gulf Coast, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and parts of South America. In the United States they are found in Southern Florida, and the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. In the early 1900's these birds had been nearly eliminated from the U.S. due to the feather trade, which killed birds for feathers that were used for fans, hats, and clothes. In south Florida there were less than 50 breeding pairs left.
With the Migratory Bird Act of 1918 most native species of birds in North America were given protection. Populations of roseate spoonbills began to rise again in the United States. In southern Florida spoonbills typically nest in mangrove trees. However in Texas and Louisiana most spoonbills nest on the ground on small off shore islands. The islands help protect their nests from predators who do not want to cross the water. Unfortunately their reliance on these island nesting sites make them susceptible to habitat loss, due to coastal development, and environmental factors such as huricanes and oil spills.