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Seeing pink, more wild flamingos being spotted in Florida

More wild flamingos are being spotted in Florida, prompting the first ever flamingo census
More wild flamingos are being spotted in Florida, prompting the first ever flamingo census 01:43

MIAMI - Flamingos are ubiquitous with Florida. From plastic lawn ornaments to the state lottery, flamingos and Florida just go together.

"When people think of flamingos they think of Florida and vice versa," said Zoo Miami's Ron Magill.

Flamingos were once native to the state, but in the 1800s, the population was decimated for the birds' vibrant feathers and meat. Since then, they have only been visitors. Until recently.

Late last year, Hurricane Idalia's winds carried many from the Caribbean to the U.S. That led to a number of sightings and in some cases, the birds aren't leaving. So many wild flamingos have popped up that the first-ever flamingo census took place this year.

"We are getting our own surveys and we're asking the public for what they saw, too," said Jerry Lorenz with Audubon Florida who spearheaded the count.

The census turned up 101 wild flamingos including more than 50 in Florida Bay, 18 in the Pine Island area, and 14 at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville.

"Considering that a decade ago I would have considered four a very large number of flamingos, we're pretty happy with that number," said Lorenz.

He credits conservation efforts in the Everglades for the triumphant return.

"As we've improved the habitat, these birds are not only coming back, but they're coming back to a place they find that they like," said Lorenz.

He hopes to see nesting flamingo populations flourish in their once-native Florida home. 

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