Flamingo sightings come from states where the birds are not typically spotted. Hurricane Idalia could be the cause – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – When you think of flamingos, images of African waterholes, the Caribbean, Florida — or just about anywhere other than Waynesville, Ohio — probably spring to mind.

When Jacob Roalef saw Facebook posts about flamingos at Ceasar Creek State Park near Dayton last week, he rushed to see them for himself.

“I quickly grabbed my gear, told my wife and was outside,” Roalef, who directs birding tours, told CNN.

When he got there, he saw two birds—an adult and a juvenile—in the lake.

“The flamingos were hanging out and sleeping in about a foot of water near the shore,” Roalef said. “They woke up and drank some water or looked up when a seagull flew by and overheard them.”

He said the birds stayed there until around 6 p.m. when a dog chased them away.

Jerry Lorenz, Audubon Florida’s state director of research, says that since Hurricane Idalia they’ve received reports of flamingos from across Florida, as well as from Georgia, the Carolinas, Texas, Kentucky, and many other places — and the sightings continue to pour in.

He suspects the birds were flying between Cuba and Yucatan and were distracted by the storm.

“It’s just really surprising that if you follow the path of Idalia, these (the sightings) are actually north and south of that central trail,” he said.

Lorenz said they’re still going through the data, so he doesn’t know how many birds have flown north because of the storm, but it’s a lot more than usual.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Lorenz. “We’ll get a flamingos or two after storms (but) this is really unprecedented.”

Boat Captain Vinnie Fugett spotted a group of 17 flamingos strolling and feeding in the surf on the beach at Treasure Island near St. Petersburg, Florida.

The birds finished eating and flew away around sunset.

“I’ve never seen a flamingo here, even though I’ve lived here my whole life,” Fugett said.

Lorenz asked people to give the flamingos plenty of space because they had been through a lot.

“These birds are stressed right now. They just went through a terrible ordeal no matter how you look at it,” he said. “So don’t get close enough to startle them or startle anything else, just enjoy their presence.”

Flamingos are native to Florida but were nearly wiped out around the turn of the 20th century for their beautiful feathers, which were used on hats and other fashions.

The population is growing worldwide, but most Florida flamingos are believed to be descended from birds that fled various animal attractions.

Recently, scientists have seen flamingos flying here from Cuba, Yucatan and the Bahamas.

Lorenz said flamingos are capable of flying thousands of miles across open waters, so the Ohio birds should have no trouble flying home if they get too cold.

He works with a group of experts to restore the Everglades and Florida Keys and create suitable habitats for flamingos to thrive.

“Perhaps these birds will become more comfortable and we will have a population again and people will be able to come down to South Florida and the Florida Keys and actually see flamingos in the wild,” he said.

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https://wsvn.com/news/us-world/flamingo-sightings-are-pouring-in-from-states-where-the-birds-arent-usually-spotted-hurricane-idalia-may-be-the-cause-2/ Flamingo sightings come from states where the birds are not typically spotted. Hurricane Idalia could be the cause – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports


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