Last week, a flamingo arrived at the South Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located near Imperial Beach in San Diego, and started making its home here.
San Diegans and tourists have been flocking to the refuge to get a glimpse of the pink bird. As of now, no one seems to have any ideas where this bird came from.
Officials managed to spot a leg tag on the bird, one that's usually given to animals by biologists when researching. The bird's wings aren't clipped so it's able to fly where it wants at any time. That pretty much rules out the idea that the bird belongs to the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a local San Diego hotel like the Marriott in Coronado, or a local aviary. Maybe it flew in from Mexico. Maybe it's here for the winter, or perhaps the bird was illegally owned by a private collector. As of right now, no one has stepped up to claim the bird.
Typically, flamingos are stationed in areas around the Caribbean or warmer parts of Mexico. Every once in a while, they'll migrate to Florida or parts of Texas for the winter. If this bird belongs to any of those regions, it's definitely far from home!
There are currently no plans to capture the bird since it's simply minding its business and appears in good health.
Flamingos are popular for their stilt legs, S-shaped neck, and pink feathers. Their diet consists of shrimp, algae, snails, and fish.
Flamingos are born white, and usually, leave their nests in a week after birth. The birds usually build nests using the mud found near waterways, much like the one at the refuge. They will usually find food and return it back to the nest where their parents are. By 1 month, the birds will leave home and live on their own.
On average, flamingos grow to about 8 lbs and can fly at a speed of 30 - 40 MPH.
They are not currently endangered, but they are considered "at risk."