More than 100 American Flamingos Counted in Florida During February Census

More than 40 people counted 101 wild American Flamingos.

In February, Audubon Florida organized an American Flamingo survey across the Sunshine State. This effort was coordinated through the Florida Flamingo Working Group as part of a larger effort by the Caribbean Flamingo Conservation Group to census all American Flamingos throughout their range from February 18-25, 2024.

More than 40 people filled out the survey to record 101 wild American Flamingos across Florida. The largest group (50+) was spotted in Florida Bay; 18 were counted in the Pine Island area, with another 14 at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

“We are thrilled that there are flamingos that have remained in Florida after being blown here in 2023 by Hurricane Idalia. I actually suspect that 100 flamingos is the floor of this new population, and there could be more that were not counted during the one-week survey. We are continually monitoring for breeding flamingos,” says Jerry Lorenz, PhD, State director of research for Audubon Florida.

Flamingos used to live and probably bred 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.

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 see the birds from a safe distance.

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. 

Audubon Florida protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1900, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at Fl.Audubon.org.

This article also appeared in the Spring State of the Everglades report. Click here for more information.

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