OK. You will probably think that I am out of my tree, but on Friday, May 28, 2010 – I saw flamingos (Phoeniconais ruber ruber) fly over my house. I had gotten home from work and was out in the garden spraying my Tomaccio Tomatoes for caterpillars (Bt and neem tree oil) – It was about 8 o-clock in the evening when I saw the first bird fly over heading east towards West Palm Beach. A minute or two later 2 more flew over heading towards Palm Beach International Airport. Three or four minutes later the pair flew back over me heading south-west.
Now I know that flamingos are extremely rare in Florida. The experts will tell you that people who report seeing these birds actually saw Roseate Spoonbills and made a mistake in identification. In many cases, sure, I can see that mistake in identification being made. In my case I say categorically, no. Why? Roseate Spoonbills stand only about 2 feet tall and have a long spoon-shaped bill (duh). That is not what I saw. The birds were much longer than 2’ and had heavy, large, curved bills. I saw flamingos in flight. Here is picture that matches almost exactly the birds that I saw fly over me that evening.
The experts will also tell you that many of the flamingos seen in Florida are exotic bird collectors’ escapees. The reason is that Phoeniconais ruber ruber mainly inhabits the extreme south-west portion of Florida during the winter. The majority of their time is spent residing in the Bahamas, Cuba, West Indies, Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, northern South America, and Galapagos Islands. American Flamingos are a very rare bird indeed, especially in my part of South Florida.
To learn more about Pink Flamingos, take a look at this page on the AvianWeb.com site.
A final thought on my sighting of the flamingos – I wonder if they are fleeing the advance of the BP ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?