Baby Flamingo Hatches at Flamingo Gardens Botanical Garden & Wildlife Sanctuary

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Rare hatching of American flamingo chick, the first baby flamingo to be born at Flamingo Gardens Botanical Garden & Wildlife Sanctuary

Flamingo Gardens Botanical Garden and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary is thrilled to announce the hatching of an American flamingo chick, the first baby flamingo to be born in the sanctuary. The hatchling flamingo started pipping out of the egg at noon on July 31 until it emerged fully at 6:45am on Wednesday, August 1, weighing a mere 88 grams. Three flamingo eggs were collected from the flock as they were laid, and artificially incubated to ensure hatching success. Only one egg has hatched so far.

“This is the second time in 15 years that the flamingos laid eggs” said Michael Ruggieri, Director of Animal Care at Flamingo Gardens. “but each time the eggs were infertile.”

“We were astonished when we came into work and went to rotate the eggs and we could hear one calling out, and could see that it had pipped a hole through the egg.”

Currently, the flamingo chick is being hand-reared behind-the-scenes by the sanctuary’s dedicated animal care team. Around-the-clock care is required for the chick including feedings every two hours, health checks, growth monitoring and regular exercise such as daily walks to strengthen their delicate legs. Once the chick is large enough to thrive on its own, it will join the flock at the Flamingo Pond. Until then, it will spend about an hour every day at the Flamingo Pond, where it will be monitored closely by animal care staff, and can viewed by the public.

Laura Wyatt, Wildlife Curator at Flamingo Gardens explains, “Raising a flamingo is a tedious process. It takes a lot of time and multiple feedings to care for them properly. Humidity and temperature must be monitored carefully for flamingo offspring to survive. They are hearty, yet fragile birds when young so they must be handled very gently.”

Flamingo Gardens is home to 14 adult American flamingos, 4 Greater flamingos and 1 Chilean flamingo. This is the first time a flamingo egg was laid and then successfully hatched at the sanctuary. Prior to this recent hatching, the sanctuary successfully raised 11 American flamingo eggs received from Hialeah Racetrack in 2002. Two of the original 11 flamingos that arrived in 2002 are the parents of the new hatchling.

It is rumored that Flamingo Gardens got its name when founders Floyd and Jane Wray saw a flock of wild flamingos roosting nearby when they purchased the property in 1927. Mrs. Wray introduced flamingos to the gardens in the 1940s and they’ve been a main attraction with visitors since.

American flamingos, also known as Caribbean flamingos, are tall, large-bodied birds with long necks and small heads. The American flamingo is the brightest-colored and one of the largest of six species of flamingos. It is native to South America and the Caribbean, and is now widely believed to be native to Florida as well.

Flamingos lay their eggs on a muddy mound that the pair builds, and both parents care for the chick. Although adult flamingos are a salmon pink, the chicks hatch with white down that changes to grey feathering prior to their adult coloration coming in. The birds’ coloration comes from pigments in the aquatic organisms that they eat.

It’s difficult to breed flamingos and raise their young. These iconic birds rarely breed if their flock is not larger than 20 or more birds, or if sex ratios are skewed one way or the other. To have a chick with only 14 birds in the flock is exceptional.

To keep up to date with the flamingo chicks progress, or find out when the chick will be visible to the public, visit the Flamingo Gardens Facebook page at facebook.com/flaminggardensorg

About Flamingo Gardens
Flamingo Gardens is a nonprofit botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary located in Fort Lauderdale, (Davie) Florida. The botanical gardens features over 3000 species of rare & exotic, tropical, subtropical, and native plants and trees. Flamingo Gardens Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary is home to permanently injured and rescued Florida native wildlife including alligators, bobcats, a black bear, eagles, otters, panthers, peacock, and of course, flamingos! Flamingo Gardens is located at 3750 S Flamingo Rd, in Davie, FL 33330. For more information call (954) 473-2955 or visit http://www.flamingogardens.org

Press Contact:
Keith Clark
Executive Director,
Flamingo Gardens
3750 S Flamingo Rd
Davie, FL 33330
954-473-2955 x131
hi-res images available upon request

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