It’s windy season on Bonaire!
From February until May, one can experience the gustiest conditions of the year. Windsurfers and kiters, those who depend upon the wind, think they have died and gone to heaven! However, there is another segment of Bonaire’s population which does not view the wind with as much love and awe, and that group is the chicks of Bonaire’s American Flamingos!
The hatching and growth of the young chicks, unfortunately, coincides with this windy season, and the little puffs of grey downy feathers might wander off, float away in strong winds, or fly too far away from the nest to be able to find their way back. Here’s a handy reference to help you know when a young flamingo is in need of help, as well as where to get assistance.
Bonaire Flamingo Rescue Reference Guide
The telephone number to call.
If the first is unavailable, work down the list:
When does a flamingo need to be rescued?
Information to be collected.
When you call, please provide the following info:
If possible, stay with the flamingo until help arrives, but do not approach, take pictures, make noise near the bird, or talk to the bird.
Written by Caren Eckrich, STINAPA Biologist. Connecting people with nature.
Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab.
Bonaire Insider readers might recall when Elly Albers, owner/manager of the Mangrove Info Center, assisted with the rehabilitation of oil-covered seabirds after a Trinidad oil spill reached Bonaire’s east coast last summer. Since that time, she has organized Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab and is assisting with the rehabilitation of young, rescued flamingos.
In the past week, Elly has successfully rehabilitated seven juveniles and chicks which were brought in to her, and today we are happy to report she was able to release them back into the Flamingo Sanctuary in Pekelmeer, in the southern salt pans managed by Cargill, where the majority of Bonaire’s flamingos breed and raise their young.
How does one rehabilitate such a young flamingo?
Baby birds, especially those without developed feathers, require almost constant care, and Elly has been hand-feeding these flamingos every two hours around the clock for the last week. She is truly a hero to the flamingos (and to everyone on Bonaire as well)!
The juveniles must learn adult behaviors.
The cuteness factor of any young animal is always an “awwwwww” but with these flamingo chicks, it is augmented by their comical attempts at adult flamingo behaviors.
Fundashon Kunuku Kakelvers
But Elly is not the only hero in this story, in fact, there are many heroes! Peter and Patrice Kersemaker from Fundashon Kunuku Kakelvers are at the front line to keep these young flamingos alive. They are on call around the clock as well, responding to calls from anyone who has sighted a flamingo in need. Bonaire is truly blessed to have such wonderful, caring people residing on the island.