PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Bird experts say a flock of wild flamingos seen in Palm Beach County is the largest recorded in recent years in Florida.
A flock of flamingos has been observed by bird experts recently in a storm water treatment area on South Florida Water Management District lands in Palm Beach County. At one point, 147 flamingos were counted in the flock.
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Typically, experts from the National Park Service, Zoo Miami and Tropical Audubon Society say they have been excited when flocks containing 19 birds were seen in the Florida Everglades.
Flock sizes have been smaller in South Florida since the 1800s. Changes to drainage plans and the advent of hunters wanting to supply feathers for fashionable hats both thinned populations of the birds.
Since 2005, larger groups of flamingos have been noted in the storm water treatment areas of South Florida. The large numbers of flamingos observed in this group have the experts hopeful the birds will continue to return to Palm Beach County and breed.
It's not clear where the American Flamingos are migrating from, as they frequently nest in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Cuba, Turks and Caicos and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
The Tropical Audubon Society is also hopeful it can attach a few satellite transmitter tracking devices weighing less than 3 percent of a bird's body weight to selected birds in the flock.
The data collected might offer new information about the birds’ migration habits and feeding patterns, and potentially aid in their protection.
So far, the birds have been too skittish to make that hope a success. The Tropical Audubon Society plans to provide funding for the transmitters once they are used.