Living its bird life: Flamingo spotted in Texas 13 years after escape from Kansas zoo

Flamingo that escaped zoo in 2005 seen in Lavaca Bay

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SAN ANTONIO – A legendary African flamingo that has been on the run, or most likely on the fly, for 13 years was recently spotted again in Southeast Texas.

The flamingo escaped from a Kansas zoo on June 27, 2005.

According to the Wichita Eagle, the flamingo’s flight feathers had not been trimmed because zookeepers at the Sedgwick County Zoo did not think they were fully grown.

However, the flamingo took advantage of strong storm winds that evening and managed to escape, the report says.

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It’s been on the loose since then and only been seen a handful of times. Wildlife biologists know it's the famed flamingo because it has a No. 492 tag.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently shared photos on its Facebook page of No. 492 at Lavaca Bay, about 40 miles outside Victoria.

The post on Friday read:

"What's pink and white and likes to spend time in Texas? An escaped African flamingo from a Kansas zoo! Coastal Fisheries staff recently helped with the Texas colonial waterbird survey near Lavaca Bay and spotted this legendary flamingo. Nicknamed No. 492 for its leg band, this flamingo escaped a Kansas Zoo in 2005 and has been living its "bird" life ever since. A treat for avid bird watchers, it makes an appearance every few years in Texas. #FieldWorkFriday"

What's pink and white and likes to spend time in Texas? An escaped African flamingo from a Kansas zoo! Coastal...

Posted by Coastal Fisheries - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Friday, June 22, 2018

The Wichita Eagle reported the flamingo, who was originally from Tanzania,  was seen in 2013 and 2016 off the Texas coast and has been spotted in Louisiana and as far north as Wisconsin.

The flamingo is now 23 years old and according to the Wichita Eagle, can live in the wild for about 50 years.


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