New Flamingos, Part 2: Picking up the Birds!

By Zoo Keepers Amanda & Christine

Have you ever wondered how zoo animals were transported? Read along to hear of the keepers adventures as they prepared the transportation vehicle, picked up 10 flamingos, and introduced them to their new home. Read "New Flamingos, Part 1: Transportation" to find out where we started.

Part 2: Picking up the Birds!
We continue the journey with more communication and collaboration between the Sacramento Zoo and the San Diego Zoo and Sea World! The zoo keepers spent hours speaking with the San Diego Zoo staff in order to coordinate last minute details regarding loading and transport. Preparations over the past few weeks for paperwork, transfer of records were finished. We also spoke to their flamingo keepers to understand how they took care of the flamingo since they were fed in a slightly different manner with a different type of food than the Sacramento Zoo uses.

The morning finally came and off we drove with food (for us), phones, and lots of CDs to keep us entertained along the way. After resting in a hotel overnight, we arrived at the San Diego Zoo veterinary hospital at 6:30 am ready to go. Working alongside their keeper staff we gave each bird a quick physical exam, weighed them and made sure their leg bands were taped up. Flamingo legs are thin and fragile and can be injured by the band if they fall. With the leg bands held in place, it is one less thing that could hurt them.


The two Red-breasted geese from Sea World arrived outside the zoo gates to meet us. Thanks Sea World staff!

In case of injuries along the way, we had in the van a bird first aid kit that included gauze, hemostats, quick stop, and vet wrap to use for any injuries or broken blood feathers. Last but not least, a spray bottle with water to cool off the birds if they become stressed.


Loaded and ready to go with two geese in crates, and ten flamingos in our specially designed pens, we headed out at 7:30 am. We carefully drove back to Sacramento through the wind and rain, stopping only once for gas and food.

In case there was a bird medical emergency, we had zoos along the way notified that we were driving north in case we needed their help. While one of us drove the other periodically peaked into the flamingo pens to make sure all the birds were doing well. During the trip the Red breasted geese would call out and one of the flamingos would respond every time. It makes for a different kind of drive!

Stay tuned for the next installment: Part 3, Quarantine & Going on Exhibit!

We even had a little time the night before to see the sights!
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