Flamingo That Escaped Kansas Zoo Spotted on Texas Coast 17 Years Later

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A flamingo that escaped a Kansas Zoo in 2005 has been making its way across the country, and this week, he made a trip to the Texas coast.

At a Glance

  • An African flamingo was seen on the Texas coast 17 years after escaping from a Kansas zoo.
  • Bird watchers have seen the animal in three states over the years. Though, the last time was nearly four years ago.
  • Zoo officials have no plans of capturing the flamingo and returning him to captivity.

Escaped African Flamingo Seen Enjoying a Day at the Beach

Last week, the Coastal Fisheries Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife confirmed with the Associated Press that someone had spotted the bird dubbed “Pink Floyd” on March 10th. The African flamingo was enjoying a sunny day outdoors over 800 miles from his original home.

According to a Facebook post, Pink Floyd was seen “at Rhodes Point in Cox Bay near Port Lavaca,” and it added that he’s “been seen on the Texas coast for several years.”

The bird and a friend broke out of the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita during a summer storm in 2005. Their keepers hadn’t clipped their wings yet, which is how they made their escape. The other bird was never seen again.

Escaped Kansas Flamingo Makes Appearances in Three States Over 17 Years

Since that day, people have also reported seeing Pink Floyd in Wisconsin and Louisiana. But it has been about four years since the last sighting. The bird is recognizable by a leg band that reads “No. 492.”

In 2006, Pink Floyd picked up a wild Caribbean flamingo friend. And the two spent a few years together. First, the pair was spotted at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Then the next year, they were seen hanging out on two separate Louisiana beaches.

After a few more glimpses, he showed up once more at Lavaca Bay in 2018. And he’d been on the lam ever since.

Luckily for Pink Floyd, the Kansas zoo officials have no plans of taking him out of his Texas paradise because there is no way to safely return him to captivity.

“There really isn’t an easy way to recapture the bird. It would only disturb wildlife where it’s been found and possibly could do more damage to the bird than just leaving him alone,” zoo spokeswoman Christan Baumer said.

Bird watchers have loved locating the elusive animal over the past 17 years. And he’ll probably be around for a while longer.

Officials estimate that he stands at 4 to 5 feet tall and is around 25 years old. African flamingos can live up to 50 years in the wild.

Pink Floyd was born in Africa and moved to the Sedgwick County Zoo in 2004 with 39 other flamingos.