We also designed the pool to be a place where the birds would want to be. One of the challenges of caring for flamingos is that they can injure their feet from standing on the concrete floor of a pool, so we designed our ponds and our stream to have a floor of pebbles, which provides the birds a soft substrate that is good for their feet. They also like to forage for algae and will move the gravel around with both their feet and their bills.
Once everything was ready, we found six American flamingos in Brownsville, Texas. We chose that type because they are the largest and calmest of their kind and they also have the brightest colors; nearly all of their feathers are infused with the most amazing shades of apricot, pink and red. However, it’s not as easy as you may think to get these birds to Palo Alto. Flamingos do best by walking on their own, or even hand carried short distances. Their crates are too tall to fit onto an airline carrier, so the best option here is to drive. After 23 hours on the road in the back of a horse trailer, and quarantining for 30 days, we are thrilled to have our flamingos acclimated to their new home at the JMZ!