Royal Spoonbills (Platalea regia) are big birds that eat small prey! So they have to work hard for a living. They wade in shallow water, systematically sweeping their open bill from side to side just below the surface. When they find a mollusc, small fish, or water bug, the bill snaps shut. With a quick toss of the head, the prey is swallowed.
An early 1970’s study found that during the period from April to August, spoonbills caught only 1.5 prey per minute. They feed for long periods during the day and sometimes at night to get enough food. As food becomes scarce in winter they disperse from their nesting colonies. This explains why a lone Spoonbill has been recorded foraging, usually at night, off St Kilda West Beach every August since 2005. Just one more reason why you gotta love the bay!