A rare find for Wisconsin: flamingos spotted on Lake Michigan in Port Washington

NOW: A rare find for Wisconsin: flamingos spotted on Lake Michigan in Port Washington

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A rare find for Wisconsin, pink flamingos showed up in Port Washington, drawing large crowds to the beach to see them. 

For eight hours, five pink flamingos called Port Washington home, and really, is it different from what they're used to? You've got sand, waves, and people. A lot of people, just like you would on a tropical beach. 

"Just close your eyes and pretend that you're in the Caribbean," said Beth Connell, flamingo watcher.

It's South Beach, but not Florida's.

Pictures similar to the ones taken are what vacations are made of. Even the professionals set up shop at Port Washington for it.

"I had all my gear with me, came down here, joined a bunch of other photographers and it's quite a neat scene to watch and everything," said Jami Last of Wild Rose Photography.

"They've never been recorded before in the state. This is the first time," said Raymie Miller, a birder.

The American Birding Association says Hurricane Idalia threw the American Flamingo off course, some even spotted in Ohio. These five showed up along Port Washington's shoreline Friday morning on Sept. 22, bringing out some cheer leaders. 

People came from all over. Chicago, Madison, and Appleton to name a few,

"Probably 500, but they've been coming and going like this all day. There's no parking. You have to wait for somebody to leave," said Jan Effinger, flamingo watcher. 

A respectful crowd, steering clear of an invisible perimeter of sorts, not wanting to startle their flamingo friends.

"She loves all animals. Do you like birds? (nods) Yea you do," said Maddie Schueller and Evelyn, flamingo watchers.

Around 5:15 p.m., the flamingos decided it was time to go. 

"I just got here, and they flew away? So why did they leave? It might have been my shirt," said Bill Johannes, flamingo watcher.

While the late comers didn't catch the worm, they did find one remaining pink flamingo on two legs, instead of one. 

"Well, some people who missed them they're like, well we still got to see a flamingo so okay," said Dawn Ritter, who showed up in a flamingo costume.

 As our feathered friends flew south, birders say it is possible they'll stay close to the lake. 

"They filter feed like whales which is cool, mostly feeding on little zo-plankton and stuff. Will they find anything to eat in Lake Michigan? Yea, there's spiny water fleas and bloody red shrimp I'm sure they're feeding on," said Miller. 

Bird experts say it's unclear if the flamingos will find enough of what they like to eat in Lake Michigan. So, it is no surprise these five flew the coop. 


Share this article: