PALM BEACH COUNTY (CBSMiami) – While it may not seem like a huge number, 147 is rather large when it comes to a flock of wild flamingos.
One-hundred-forty-seven flamingos is the size of a flock found in Florida Water Management lands in far western Palm Beach County this month.
Experts on the species say it’s the largest flock spotted in state history.
“Since the late 1800’s, we have had very small numbers show up in South Florida,” said Zoo Miami’s Dr. Frank Ridgley.
The zoo teamed-up with the Tropical Audubon Society in an attempt to attach satellite locators to the flamingos found in western Palm Beach County.
The exact location of the flock is being kept secret to make sure no one scares them away.
All was going as planned last week with the tagging operation, until the flock was spooked by a passing helicopter.
“It scared them all up into the air and we were afraid they were going to fly off, and it turned out to be Donald Trump’s Helicopter,” said Dr. Ridgley with a smile.
While the species is known to reproduce in the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico and Ecuador, it is not known exactly where members of this wild flock came from.
“We’re trying to find out,” said Dr. Ridgley. “When we have studied them in the past, we got them when they were young and put leg bands on them before they could fly.”
Dr. Ridley said only 2 flamingos have shown up in our area with leg bands in recent years, telling scientists they had migrated to South Florida from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
“That’s a long migration pattern and surprised everyone,” said Dr. Ridgley.
As for this record setting flock, the aim is to figure out where they are from so efforts can be taken in that country to protect the species and implement programs that will increase their numbers.