Birders attend, a rare opportunity is presenting itself along the East Coast. Hurricane Idalia may have diverted dozens of flamingos from a path between Cuba and Mexico.
They are turning up along Mid-Atlantic states like North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and even Ohio, with 150 sightings already logged in birding apps.
The Washington Post spoke with the Audubon Society of Alabama, another state where the flamingos are being seen, and they say this may be a once-in-a-century level event.
“To my knowledge, which goes back like 50 years, never anything as spectacular as this [has occurred],” said executive director Scott Duncan. “This is jaw-dropping how many flamingos have been seen.”
“Drove down to Pea Island NWR this morning to look for American Flamingos,” wrote bird and wildlife photographer Jeff Lewis on Facebook. “As far as I know, these are the first wild flamingos ever seen in NC.”
Flamingos in the wild of the US occur rarely in Florida, and that’s pretty much it.
The Chesapeake Bay Magazine, reporting on the phenomenon, wrote that the last confirmed sighting in the state was in 1972 on Assateague Island.
“However late last week a pair was found in a pond in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, at Long Lane Pond,” they wrote. “Franklin County is part of the geographically larger Chesapeake Bay watershed. These are the first confirmed wild flamingos ever seen in the Commonwealth.”
It’s believed that the birds’ inner thermostats will begin to coax them back to their tropical homeland as summer nights gradually give way to autumn, meaning the chance for a once-in-a-Big-Year sighting is for a limited time only.
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This article by Andy Corbley was first published by The Godo News Network on 14 September 2023. Lead Image: Credit – Captain Vinnie’s Boat Tour.