Birds waded along the Lake Michigan beach. Could they be . . . flamingos? A crowd watched the unusual visitors. Wisconsin is not known for tropical birds. It’s known for cheese and cold winters!
Still, the birds showed up near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They stood quietly. Waves lapped against their thin legs. Three were adults with pink feathers. Two were young and gray. (Did you know flamingos get their color from what they eat? They love brine shrimp. The shrimp is loaded with carotenoids—the substance that makes carrots orange and tomatoes red. Carotenoids also make flamingos pink.)
Word of the birds spread on social media. Soon, about 75 bird lovers showed up at the city’s South Beach. “This is huge. This is unbelievable,” says birdwatcher Jim Edelhuber.
The sighting was unexpected. But it wasn’t a total shock. Lately, people have spotted flamingos in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Wildlife biologists have a guess. Hurricane Idalia brought strong winds in August. They think the wind pushed flamingos north.
Debbie Gasper visited the lakefront to spot the birds. Before then, she had seen flamingos only in Aruba. (Aruba is a warm island near Venezuela. American flamingos live in hot places such as Florida, the Caribbean, and northern South America.)
Ms. Gasper says she’ll send photos of the birds to relatives in Georgia. She says they “aren’t going to believe it.”