Last week, we discussed a flock of flamingos Hurricane Idalia blew into Tampa Bay. I subscribe to eBird’s Florida rare bird alerts, and there have been flamingos sighted all over the state since then.
Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that a crew in a boat assessing beach erosion from the storm spotted a “confused and exhausted” flamingo off St. Pete Beach. They netted it and handed it over to the SPCA. It is now in the care of Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, which provided an update on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
I like how the sanctuary’s Instagrammer respects the bird’s pronoun preferences! (They’re probably unsure of its sex — it’s hard to tell with some birds.)
ETA: Update to the update — Tampa Bay Times just posted fresh flamingo content — and the bird has a name — update below the fold!
“The people who found it call it Peaches,” said Melissa Edwards, director of the Dr. Marie L. Farr Avian Hospital at Indian Shores’ Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, where the flamingo was taken.
But that doesn’t mean the bird is female.
“It’s hard to know with flamingos,” Edwards said. “Males are a little bit larger but it’s hard to tell with just one. So, we’re just using they…”
“There were no major injuries,” Edwards said. “But they were pretty tuckered out. So, we did some assisted tube feedings and fluid therapy until they started eating on their own, which was Sunday. Slowly, they’re regaining their strength via exercise time.”
Peaches is too tall to stretch their wings and legs in one of the sanctuary’s typical outdoor exercise pens, so the bird has been using a separate room inside the hospital.
“We call it recess,” Edwards laughed…
Edwards hopes that Peaches can be released by the end of the week.
In the meantime, local bird watching groups are monitoring the movements of groups of flamingos so that Peaches can rejoin their friends.
“They’re flap flapping a little more actively,” Edwards said. “They will be fine.”