Flamingo Sightings All through the Southeast After Hurricane Idalia

Hurricane Idalia struck Florida on August thirtieth, 2023. I used to be a robust storm that was categorized as a class 4 hurricane. Because it climbed additional north and dumped heavy rain throughout enormous swathes of the East Coast, the violent winds started to weaken till the hurricane was weak sufficient to be categorized as a tropical storm. Earlier than the storm relented, although, it introduced some surprising guests to a number of East Coast states.

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Within the 5 days since Idalia handed, greater than 150 flamingos have been sighted in eight U.S. states within the areas of the Southeast and the East Coast. Wild flamingos in the US are unusual, however not exceptional. Flamingos as soon as lived in Florida, although they disappeared within the early twentieth century. At one level, a captive inhabitants of flamingos escaped into the wild, and subsequent sightings have typically been attributed to this inhabitants. Some do nonetheless imagine {that a} restricted inhabitants of untamed Floridian flamingos persists. If that is true, it’s a very small inhabitants with scant sightings. Whether or not they’re guests, descendants of escapees, or native residents, over 95% of sightings are concentrated within the Everglades, Biscayne Bay, and the Florida Keys.

So, flamingo sightings within the states should not exceptional, however they are usually concentrated in very restricted sections of Florida wetlands. What’s exceptional are flamingos in Ohio, however because of Hurricane Idalia, that’s precisely what occurred. On Friday, September 1st, after the worst of the storm was over, Ohio residents had been shocked to see a number of flamingos within the space of Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville, Ohio.

And so they’re not the one ones. Kentucky, Texas, Alabama, North and South Carolina; not less than 9 states have reported flamingo sightings on the time of writing. Of the greater than 150 long-legged birds which have been reported all through the Southeast, greater than 70 have been concentrated in Florida. Not like in years previous, although, these birds have been noticed far outdoors of their common wetland haunts.

Whereas this scope and scale of flamingo sightings is unprecedented, the overall situation at play is well-documented. It’s referred to as a “migratory fallout.” When teams of migratory birds encounter troublesome situations, resembling a disorienting climate entrance, they might be blown off beam from their authentic vacation spot, or they might tire earlier than reaching their vacation spot and search land early. On this case, the highly effective winds and torrential rain introduced on by Idalia interrupted the flight of a number of flocks of flamingos, scattering them in locations that they wouldn’t ordinarily go to.

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