Flamingos found in Pennsylvania and Ohio after Florida hurricane

After Hurricane Idalia passed through Florida last week, flamingos have begun to appear in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and several other states where they are typically absent.

“We’re seeing flamingos all over the place,” American Birding Association (ABA) digital communications manager Nate Swick told NPR Thursday. “We’re seeing them in places that we didn’t expect them.”

According to an ABA Facebook page, birders have observed flamingos in Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Virginia since the hurricane that struck the Sunshine State last week brought rain and winds of 125 mph.

According to Swick, when hurricanes force birds from their homes, it is common for them to move. Yet, flamingos as a rule stay in their local state.

According to Hannah McDougall of Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, based in New Jersey, who spoke with News Nation on Tuesday, the flamingos that have been appearing in and around the Midwest probably got diverted while traveling to Cuba or the Bahamas. She thinks the colorful birds will go back to their homes, but she tells people who see flamingos in their town to “observe their beauty from afar” and not disturb them.

Swick told NPR that flamingos had been seen in Tennessee and Missouri before Hurricane Barry hit the deep south in 2019 when it came out of the Gulf of Mexico. The birds eventually made their way back to their nests.

American flamingos stand around 5-feet-tall and can live to be 60-years of age, as per the Smithsonian’s Public Zoo and Preservation Science Organization. They are typically found on Caribbean islands and South America’s northern coast. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida is home to less than one percent of all flamingos in the world.