The Zoo’s flamingo flock has grown – the old-fashioned way. In 2012, a record 15 chicks hatched, and five more hatched in 2013.
Want to Flamingle With the Flamingos?
In 2012, four flamingo eggs were knocked off of their nests and were hatched in incubators, and two chicks had medical issues requiring that they too be hand-raised. Fed by keepers and housed in the Animal Hospital, they needed room to exercise and build strong muscles.
Keepers began to walk the chicks through the Zoo in the early mornings, before the Zoo opened. The flock of fluffy gray chicks followed their foster parents to the hilltop, to the delight of the rest of the staff. The chicks had bonded with their keepers, and become less skittish around humans.
Keepers wanted to share this special experience with Zoo guests, so private Flamingles are now available.
The chicks, now grown but not yet pink, have returned to the flamingo exhibit, but don’t be surprised if you see keepers leading one, two or all six through the Zoo.
One of the Flamingle birds has a celebrity sponsor: Charlie Sheen and his fiancée recently adopted a bird they named Klay-Vinn.
From the Keepers
“The pink color of a Chilean flamingo’s feathers comes from nutrients in their food, which includes shrimp, plankton, algae and crustaceans. At the Zoo, we give them a special diet to keep them ‘in the pink.’ It takes two to three years for chicks to turn that distinctive color.”-Rachel R.
The IUCN Red List has listed Chilean flamingos as “Near Threatened” as a precaution. Populations are declining at a moderate rate due to egg-harvesting, hunting, and the disturbance and degradation of the species’ habitat.
Use Biodegradable Detergent
When standard detergents run off into lakes and streams, they encourage rapid insect and algae growth which can have a negative impact on native species. By using biodegradable detergent, you are helping to keep waterways clean and healthy for the animals that call them home.