Hurricane Idalia has delivered a flamingo-palooza to the Eastern United States this week. The iconic pink plumaged birds have been spotted all over Florida, on both coasts and the northern Gulf Coast. By Saturday, flamingo sightings had been reported in Alabama, South and North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.
A flock of flamingos was seen Sunday along the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. Bird watchers and ornithologists tallied estimates of more than 150 flamingos sighted over five days. Kowa Sales Manager Jeff Bouton says more than 70 birds had been reported in Florida!
The flamingos ignited a frenzy in the birding world, with birders trading news of the latest sightings and scattering out across eight states hoping for a look at the leggy, pink wading birds. Bird experts believe that the flamingos were caught up in Hurricane Idalia and carried to the Eastern United States. The storm's strong winds and rain bands likely pushed the birds off course and deposited them in unexpected places.
The flamingos are believed to have come from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This is a major breeding ground for flamingos, and many of the birds that have been seen in the United States have been banded, which means that they have been identified and tracked by scientists.
It is not yet clear what will happen to the flamingos that have been blown to the Eastern United States. Some of the birds may return to their original colonies, while others may stay in their new surroundings. It is also possible that some of the birds may establish new breeding colonies in the United States.
Birders who are hoping to see the flamingos that have been blown to the Eastern United States should be patient and persistent. The birds may be tired and stressed from their journey, so they may not be as easy to see as they would be under normal circumstances. Birders should also be respectful of the birds and avoid disturbing them.
This is an exciting time for birders in the United States! The arrival of the flamingos is a reminder of the power of nature and the beauty of these amazing creatures.
More info in this article from USA Today.