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Flamingo Returns to Georgica Pond

Mon, 06/10/2024 - 14:31
The American flamingo was back in Georgica Pond this week and seemed quite at home with the resident mute swans.
Cathy Blinken

The peripatetic American flamingo, first spotted in Georgica Pond in East Hampton on May 31 before leaving the next day, has returned to the pond. In the past 10 days, it is suspected the same bird has visited Cape Cod in Massachusetts and Cedar and Oak Beaches in western Suffolk. But who can blame it for coming back to East Hampton? It's nearly summertime.

Pietro Cicognani, an East Hampton architect, noted the return of the bird on his routine morning walk Sunday and phoned The Star. "It was wonderful and startling," he said. As of Monday morning, the bird remained, seen by several local birders.

"It was purely a real surprise, because I thought it had gone away. It was in the middle of all the swans. It made friendship, I guess," said Mr. Cicognani. "I'm worried she would find the right food, her head was often underwater eating, so I thought she must have found something to eat. Shrimp is what makes them pink, so maybe she'll change color. If she starts eating crabs maybe she'll turn brown."

"They can't be too intolerant of variation in their diet when you consider that they can survive in captivity," texted Shai Mitra, an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island. "Nobody knows much about the diets of vagrants; experts on flamingos would tend to ignore the vagrants."

Jim Grimes, an East Hampton Town trustee, said the question of diet was a good one. "There are little crustaceans that are mixed in with the sand. Is it enough for it to survive on? I don't know. I imagine if it couldn't sustain itself it would move around a bunch." 

Perhaps there's the rub.

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