So, I had heard for quite a while that we were getting flamingos at work – which, by the way, is an okay-normal type thing when you work at a zoo. Finally, a couple of months ago, the word that they were on their way…21 lesser flamingos coming from the San Antonio Zoo, which was phasing out their exhibit.
Now, first, before I get to the flamingos, let me say that I have definitely gained a new appreciation for birds since working at the zoo. There are so many really special, gorgeous birds out there. Many of them, in Oregon – not the least of which is the always amazing and majestic bald eagle. What a treat when we were in Klamath Falls last summer to see so many of them there in the wild! Perhaps I digress…
Despite my newfound bird appreciation, I didn’t initially think all that much about the flamingos – except that sitting in the marketing department and all – there was a lot of thinking about flamingos. First came the brainstorm. Then the photos. Then the billboard designs. Then the billboards on the freeways, complete with plastic flamingos on top. Then, this week, the culmination leading up to the new exhibit opening with the surprise #flockupy popping up all over town. Plus, the local news reporting about it. And let’s not forget the cool pink flamingo necklaces my colleague Krista got us all to wear around the office all week long. I mean, this flamingo thing is kind of fun.
On Monday of this week, after I had met a big deadline the day before, I took a sadly, somewhat rare break and walked into the zoo to go visit these new members of the family. They were/are cute. And kind of funny little guys and gals. They all hang out right together. Like, I’m thinking they aren’t really American because they don’t seem all that concerned about personal space. The closer, the merrier, as far as I could tell. And they are definitely into the standing on one leg thing. And amazingly flexible. All in all, super good at yoga, I would guess.
Also, when you get past their devil-red eyes, they are just gorgeous birds. The light pink color is just amazing, and I love the accents of darker pink that highlight the ends of their wings. Really, so pretty, I think.
So, by now perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with first graders? Well, on Tuesday morning I was out with my neighbor/walking partner, talking about how cool the new flamingos are when she says that her daughter, a first grader – but not in Ian’s class – told her that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp! Hee hee, yeah right…sounds a little “fishy” to me!
Then, Wednesday morning I’m volunteering in Ian’s first grade class, getting ready to take a group of kids off for reading group and one of the girls asks about my (totally awesome) flamingo necklace. She says she loves flamingos! Then, “Did you know that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp?” Wha??! Alrighty, now I’m suspicious. Could these first graders know something I don’t know?? (Wait, don’t answer that.)
A couple of hours later I’m back at work at the end of a staff meeting when there’s a call for any last questions/comments before we wrap. I can’t help myself. I must know the truth. My hand goes up…”So, I’ve heard via two first graders that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp! True, or false??” Instead of the chuckles I half expected, I get a (half) collective…”It’s true!”
So I guess the final answer is that no, apparently I am not smarter than one or more first graders. At least when it comes to flamingo trivia.
And that’s all I have to say about that. Except, flamingos will be officially available to greet their adoring public starting tomorrow, March 23 so…
Flock This Way!
wait. is her name really Krista Swan? That’s just too good. Thinking about changing your name to Melinda Lemur?
It is! I don’t know – I might go for something more like Melinda Naked Mole Rat. (Poor little guys – they are about as unattractive as they sound.)
Our loss, your gain! I’m happy you will be able to enjoy those beautiful birds but sorry to hear that SA is phasing out our flamingo exhibit. We certainly had lots of them. Ellie went to the zoo with us only one time — about two years ago, I think — and the flamingos were the first thing she saw. She loved them. They are fun to watch and, yes, they really are very much into the one-leg thing. However, learning that their diet is shrimp is new to me as well!
Yes, thank you to San Antonio for the fun gift. Maybe Ellie can come visit them some day at the Oregon Zoo now!