ST. PETERSBURG — A boat trip to assess Hurricane Idalia’s impact on beach erosion led to the rescue of a “confused and exhausted” flamingo off St. Pete Beach Friday, according to an Instagram post from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tampa Bay.
During the boat trip, the captain, Jeff Brooks, and Madeira Beach Commissioner Anne-Marie Brooks spotted the flamingo about 800 yards offshore and swimming away from land.
The SPCA then aided in the rescue of the displaced flamingo and set up temporary housing to ensure the bird “would be safe and secure overnight until it could be transferred to a licensed rehabilitator,” according to the post. “The flamingo is doing well and is now at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores.”
Wild flamingos are a rarity in the Tampa Bay area. They’re based mostly in places like South Florida, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys.
But they have recently been spotted in locations including the Sanibel Causeway, Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island Beach. According to photographer Mike Carlson’s Facebook page, a group of flamingo’s was “off the north end of Fort DeSoto beach” on Sunday. He wrote that “it was a unique experience to spend a bit of time with them”
A state research director for Audubon Florida recently told the Tampa Bay Times that Hurricane Idalia swept up the pink birds and pushed them farther north than they normally go.