HAVANA, Sept. 6. A group of pink flamingos from Cuba was seen on the west coast of Florida after the passage of Hurricane Idalia.The pink flamingo is a symbol of the southern state, but the species has long been uncommon in the region. Scientists believe that the return of the animals to this habitat is due to the fact that the cyclone’s winds pushed them when they migrated from Mexico to Cuba.
Jerry Lorenz, an Audubon researcher in the Florida Keys and an expert on flamingos, noted that these birds are native to the southern part of the state, but they were nearly extinct.
“Usually we see one or two here in Florida Bay Everglades National Park, but these (recent sightings) are pretty much all over the state,” Lorenz said.
“There is traffic in the Yucatan in that area. They may have been traveling from the Yucatan to Cuba and were pushed north as Storm Idalia grew. I really think that’s what happened,” the scientist said.
Lorenz said, “It’s exciting to have an iconic bird returning to its natural habitat.”
In recent days, sightings of dozens of pink flamingos have been reported on the Sanibel Causeway, and for the first time the presence of one of these birds has been documented in Alachua County, southwest of Jacksonville.
Several flocks of flamingos were also photographed at Bunche Beach, Blind Pass, Charlotte Harbor, Stump Pass, Punta Gorda, and north to Clearwater.
American ornithologists have not been able to pinpoint the number of birds found in Florida at this time. It is estimated that there could be about 70 pink and gray flamingos.
The largest colony of pink flamingos reported in the world is located in the north of the Cuban province of Camagüey.
For decades, a group of Cuban researchers have been studying the origin of various pink flamingo populations found in the Cayos de San Felipe National Park, in the west of the island.
There is evidence that some of these birds are native to the Yucatan peninsula.