Storm-tossed flamingos remain in Florida

A survey found over 100 flamingos in the state after Hurricane Idalia blew them in

After Hurricane Idalia blew over flamingos into Florida last year, the birds seem to be staying put. Audubon Florida announced that residents counted 101 flamingos throughout the state during a February survey. Over half were at Florida Bay, at the southern end of the state. with another 18 in the Pine Island area west of Fort Myers on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and 14 at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, east of Orlando on the Atlantic Coast.

“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,” Jerry Lorenz, state director of research for Audubon Florida, in a press release. “We are continually monitoring for breeding flamingos.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers flamingos to be native to the state, but they were decimated by the 19th century plume trade.

Last August, Hurricane Idalia brought a “pink wave” of American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) to Florida and other states as high winds blew in birds as the storm traveled north from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Read more from the Fort Myers News-Press.

Header Image: An American flamingo makes an appearance near St. Petersburg, Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. Credit: Rich Miller via iNaturalist