OK, they aren’t really my flamingos, but I make sure to visit them every time I go to the zoo. Not only are they bright and colorful (and close to the entrance), but the longer I’ve watched them, the more admirable I find them.
None of this is probably true for wild flamingos, but the flock at the OKC Zoo is special.
There used to be a lovely older flamingo I named Philomena. She had arthritis and walked stiffly, but the flamingos always made sure to include her, to make sure she wasn’t left behind, and she often acted as a sentinel for them, alerting them to treats and interesting activities.
In watching her, I noticed just how much the flamingos cared for one another. One way they showed their care was in their game of “Marco Polo”. When one flamingo got distracted and wandered away from the flock, and realized it was alone, it would stop, and cry “I’m here!” The other flamingos would respond “There you are!” They would start walking towards one another, the lone one crying “Marco!” and the flock responding “Polo!” until they were united.
“Hey, Herbie, we missed you!”
“Say, Herbie, you get any good eats?”
“Jane! so glad to see you!”
“Hey, there’s food in our tray!”
And they’d all turn to the tray behind the pond and head over to eat.
Gertie, the peahen, would bob her head and follow, hoping for snackies.
I love how the flamingos care for one another.