Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 10/16/2015

Photo taken on September 29, 2015

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Phoenicopterus chilensis
Anne Elliott
Calgary Zoo
early fall
Chilean Flamingo
Family: Phoenicopteridae
29 September 2015
head tucked down

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Pretty in pink

Pretty in pink
It's just 2°C (apparently feels like 1°C) this morning, 16 October 2015, and overcast. Supposed to become sunny this afternoon and the temperature should get to a balmy 14°C.

Yesterday, two people came and removed all the plants in my tiny back yard and cut a short length of Cotoneaster hedge right down to about 8" in height. They will think about whether they can remove the hedge entirely. Now my yard looks bigger and totally bare - I had no choice but to make it completely maintenance free. It was so overgrown and a complete mess. It was so difficult to find someone who would take on just this one-time job, that in the end I just gave up trying to find someone. Wonderfully, someone knew someone else and so it was done and now I feel like a huge black cloud has been lifted from over my head.

On 29 September 2015, I had set my alarm clock for 6:30 am so that I could go on a birding walk with friends. Unfortunately, I didn't read the e-mail carefully enough, so hadn't seen that the meeting place was not where I thought. Of course, no one else showed up where I was, so I took myself off to the Calgary Zoo instead. I had planned on going there after the walk, anyway. This may have been the last time I go to the Zoo until next spring, as they have closed "my" parking lot at the west entrance till April next year. The north entrance is way out of my driving comfort zone, especially the drive back home. One of my favourite things at the Zoo is the butterfly room, but the season is over till around next April.

"Nestled at the very heart of the Calgary Zoo, these pink beauties might seem dainty, but don’t let their slender bodies and fancy feathers fool you. Flamingos are tough cookies. They can stand on one leg for hours and, in the wild, withstand extreme conditions – including stifling summers and frigid winter temperatures that dip to -30 C.

In the wild, Chilean Flamingos live near salt lakes, coastal mudflats and marshes. Their diet consists of algae and small aquatic animals.

If flamingos don’t eat pink food, their feathers turn white. At the zoo, special diet supplements keep the birds’ feathers vibrant." From the Calgary Zoo Website.

"When not eating or preening, flamingos will sleep, facing the wind, head tucked under their wings, usually standing on one leg, with the other leg tucked up under their feathers. They do this to conserve warmth, whether they're in a warm or cool climate."

Read more: Information on Pink Flamingos |

"Chilean flamingos live in large flocks in the wild and require crowded conditions to stimulate breeding. During breeding season, males and females display a variety of behaviors to attract mates, including head flagging—swiveling their heads from side-to-side in tandem—and wing salutes, where the wings are repeatedly opened and closed. Males and females cooperate in building a pillar-shaped mud nest, and both incubate the egg laid by the female. Upon birth, the chicks have gray plumage; they don't gain adult coloration for two-three years. Both male and female flamingos can produce a nutritious milk-like substance in their crop gland to feed their young.

The Chilean flamingo's bill is equipped with comb-like structures that enable it to filter food—mainly algae and plankton—from the water of the coastal mudflats, estuaries, lagoons and salt lakes where it lives." From Wikipedia.