Residents of Florida Keys get rare chance to see pink flamingos

In recent weeks, Floridians have been fortunate enough to witness a unique spectacle of nature – the presence of pink flamingos in their natural habitat. These stunning rose-coloured birds have been observed in the wild, particularly in the Everglades and around the Florida Keys, providing an extraordinary sight for those lucky to catch a glimpse.

Janine Stanwood from Local 10 recently went bird watching and stumbled upon a trio of flamingos leisurely lounging in Ohio Key, located just south of Marathon.

When the construction was completed, locals immediately took notice and stopped to admire the impressive sight.

According to Brian Phelps, while he and his wife were heading back home, his wife spotted Sunshine Key and exclaimed that it was the place where her friend had seen flamingos. In response, Brian suggested that they look for a salt marsh, and to their delight, they spotted the beautiful birds. Excited by the sighting, they rushed home to grab their camera and returned to the spot to capture the stunning sight.

According to Jerry Lorenz, an Audubon Florida representative, flamingos can fly long distances and cross between Cuba and the Yucatan. Lorenz believes that the flamingos found in this area were probably carried here by Hurricane Idalia.

According to Lorenz, it’s likely that the birds were attempting to make the crossing but could not avoid the increasingly severe storms. As a result, they were swept up by the storm and carried along until it ultimately made landfall in Florida, causing the birds to fall out at either side of the storm.

Image Source: Photographer Valerie Preziosi

Following the hurricane, numerous sightings of flamingos have been reported across the country, including in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas. However, it’s worth mentioning that most of these beautiful birds have returned to their natural habitat in Florida.

After the storm, a fisherman discovered a tired and floating manatee off St. Petersburg Beach, later named Peaches. Upon hearing about Peaches, Lorenz obtained permission to band her so that he and his team could monitor her movements.

Image Source: Photographer Valerie Preziosi

Lorenz exclaimed, “I had the bird in my hand, and it was stunning! Now, people are photographing it and contacting me to report their sightings.”

For years, the pink flamingo symbolised Florida and pop culture, appearing in the opening credits of the popular 1980s show “Miami Vice.” However, many people have only ever seen these magnificent birds in captivity.

Over a hundred years ago, the birds were nearly wiped out due to excessive hunting. They were hunted for their meat, considered a luxury, and their feathers were used in the fashion industry.

Valerie Preziosi, a conservationist and resident of Big Pine Key, expressed her community’s happiness in providing a haven for these creatures to rest and feed. She mentioned that at least 50 individuals are required to form a colony and expressed hope that these bats can either locate the Everglades colony, find their way back home, or even establish a new settlement in the area.

According to Lorenz, the restoration of the Everglades has led to the protection of a vast amount of habitat, including conservation lands, state parks, and the National Wildlife Preserve.

Image Source: Photographer Valerie Preziosi

The scientific community is optimistic that the flamingos will eventually see Florida as their permanent home if they continue to reside there for an extended period.

According to Lorenz, the goal of this group is to establish a strong foundation for the future. She hopes that the elephants will enjoy their new home and choose to remain there permanently. Lorenz even dreams of the possibility of the elephants starting a family and helping to rebuild the species’ population.

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