Two Flamingos Flocked to Florida’s Panhandle


When visitors think of Florida, three things come to mind: palm trees, the beach and flamingos. But, Northwest Florida natives know the only type of flamingos you’ll see, are in the front yard or floating. Two weeks ago, Tropical Storm Cindy changed that.

 “At first, I thought they were those pink yard stakes, you know, that people have in the yards. So, I didn’t think they were real until they got up and flew,” explained Matt Parenzan, local eye witness.

“You can’t really see flamingos down here on the beach, out of a zoo. It was pretty weird,” said Zoe Parenzan, 9-years-old.

After Tropical Storm Cindy blew in, two flamingos did too. They made their way to South Walton, where beach-goers nicknamed them, the Duke and Duchess.

“We see these two pink stick figures and so, of course naturally, I have all of my kids. We start walking toward them. The closer we got, they said, ‘Hey, Dad! It’s the flamingos everybody has been talking about,” said Parenzan.

“My first reaction was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ And then, I was like,’ Seth, look at those they are actually real.’ And he screamed,” said Zoe Parenzan.

Choctawhatchee Audubon Society President, Dave Clausen told us, the sighting of these two wild flamingos is a once in a decade type of event.
“It’s really kind of perplexing how they ended up here. But, it’s really remarkable. It’s an extremely rare event but, it has happen before I know, in 2008. There were a couple flamingos in and seen around Destin,” said Dave Clausen, President, Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

The rare sighting created a buzz on the beach for visitors and locals, who were dying to see the flamingos, “fla-mingling” on the beach.

A resident, Lindsey Bell was able to snap some photos, you see here. Bell told us, she spent almost four hours searching for them but, right when she was about to give up, there they were.

“Well, they were big. They had long legs and they were pink. They were actually pretty cool to watch and they were pretty fast flyers, so, it was amazing,” explained Zoe Parenzan. 

Next time you are at the beach, keep a look out for the Duke and Duchess.

The two flamingos are said to still be in the South Walton area. If you have seen them or have a cool image you want to share with us, visit the contact us page on our site or share it on our Facebook page.

Photos courtsey: Lindsay Havlicek Bell

Photos courtsey: Misty and Matt Parenzan

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