In September, Hurricane Idalia blew dozens of American Flamingos into Florida and across the eastern half of the U.S. In February, a research team wants to see how many have remained in the Sunshine State and are calling all interested Floridians to report the flamingos they see from February 18 through February 25, 2024. This effort is being coordinated through the Florida Flamingo Working Group and is part of larger effort being coordinated by the Caribbean Flamingo Conservation Group to census all American Flamingos throughout their range during this week.
Note: Please give flamingos their space. If you are affecting their movement or behavior, you are too close. Use binoculars or a zoom lens to record their presence from a safe distance.
To collect data, interested participants should seek out flamingos any time between February 18-25 and fill out this form.
Flamingos used to live and breed in Florida. Unfortunately, the 19th century plume trade—when an ounce of feathers was worth more than gold—decimated wading birds in South Florida. Even after legislation and Audubon wardens protected these birds, extensive draining and ditching of the Everglades destroyed their habitat.
Now that restoration momentum is flowing in the River of Grass, we are hopeful that protected wetlands and improved water flow will create enough habitat resources for the Hurricane Idalia flamingos to survive and thrive here.
Wading birds show that if we get the water right, they are capable of breeding successfully once more. Both 2018 and 2021 proved to be strong nesting years for most of the Everglades’ wading birds, with hopes that continuing restoration projects will make the region more resilient as Florida deals with the ongoing and future impacts of a changing climate.
The Florida Flamingo Working Group (FFWG) is a coalition of scientists and conservationists who are working on the conservation and recovery of American flamingos in Florida.