Hurricane Idalia, which struck Florida’s Big Bend at the end of August, blew in a pink wave of American Flamingos. Caught while on the move between Cuba and the Yucatan, the flamingos touched down across Florida and the eastern half of the United States, from Texas and Louisiana all the way to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
State Research Director Jerry Lorenz, PhD, tracks the sightings.
“This event is unprecedented,” he explains, “We’re talking more than 100 flamingos here. Will they stay? Will they leave? We want to know.”
American Flamingos used to breed in Florida, but were nearly eliminated by hunters for their feathers. Destruction of Everglades habitat further drove them from South Florida.
Birds tell us if their habitat is healthy. If flamingos that remain in Florida are able to find enough food and intact wetlands to survive, it is a sign that ongoing conservation and restoration initiatives in South Florida and beyond are creating a more resilient future for these iconic pink birds.
“If we get the water right, our future could be pink,” says Director of Everglades Policy Kelly Cox. “Everglades restoration is our best chance at creating a healthy environment where flamingos can thrive.”
We Need Your Help
Are you still seeing flamingos in the wild? We want to know! If you’ve seen flamingos before, are they still there? Have they arrived in new locations? Log your sightings on eBird or send them to us at email@example.com.