The Flamingos
Traditionally, there have been more birds than people.

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Bonaire Flamingos
Where to See Them

At one time, the number of flamingos on Bonaire was estimated at about 1,500, Today the population is believed to be more than 10 times that size. Bonaire's solar salt works are one of the world's few nesting places for the pink flamingo.

A good pair of binoculars is necessary to observe the shy birds, who will move away as soon as you leave your car and attempt to approach them. A good telephoto lens for 400mm and more is needed for images.

A special sanctuary has been set aside where the flamingos can lay their eggs in 12 to 15 inch high conical nests. That area is closed to the public because the birds are easily disturbed and there is always concern about frightening the birds away.

However, the flamingos only go to the sanctuary during egg-laying season. The rest of the year they can be seen close to the road in the crystallizers or other places around the salt pans, or in Washington Park on the north tip of the island or at Goto Meer, on the way to the park.

Some Bonaire flamingo trivia: they were reported nesting on the island as early as 1681. Only 3 other places in the world have nesting colonies of pink flamingos: the Bahamas, Mexico 's Yucatan peninsula and the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador. Out of a world population of 60,000 flamingos, 20,000 live in the southern Caribbean.

Flamingoes make a high nasal honking sound like geese: "chogogo," also the Bonairean name for the birds.

New World flamingos are technically known as red flamingos; those of the Old World are the true "pink" flamingos, though Bonaireans obviously don't care about this distinction because they paint everything pink after the birds. Flamingos are born a fluffy gray.

The carotene in their natural food supply of brine shrimp, algae, brine fly pupae, lagoon snails and tiny clams gives these birds their bright color. They live e8 to 9 years. When food is scarce on Bonaire, the flamingos will fly two to three hours to feed in Venezuela.

The trick question is how can humans distinguish male from female flamingos, since they both have the same plumage? Well, during the mating season, the birds often walk in rows with their necks extended straight up.

The birds with the longest necks are the males. That's a true fact! I can cite references!

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