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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:

  • Fundashon Kunuku Kakelvers Contact: +(599) 780-8020
  • Dierenberscherming Contact: +(599) 796-7000
  • STINAPA Contact: +(599) 777-2018 or +(599) 787-0984

When does a flamingo need to be rescued?

  • If the flamingo flies away when you approach, it does not need to be rescued.
  • If it does not fly away, or only flies a few feet away and looks exhausted, it most likely needs to be rescued (unless it is a very young flamingo in a safe place. such as Cargill or Gotomeer. Young flamingos cannot find the right food in the mangroves or in Lac.

Information to be collected.

When you call, please provide the following info:

  • The exact location of flamingo: approximate distances north/south of certain landmarks/dive site
  • The color of bird – juvenile/adult?
  • The time you first noticed the bird
  • The behavior of the bird
  • Other obvious problems (broken wing, exhausted, wrapped in line, etc.)

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.

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.

Peter Kersemaker, from Fundashon Kunuku Kakelvers
Patrice Kersemaker, from Fundashon Kunuku Kakelvers


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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


 

 

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