Friday, May 23, 2008


We have a membership to the Woodland Park Zoo, and so we got to see the members' preview
of the new flamingos today. Oliver has been excited for weeks to see them, so we were in line as soon as the zoo opened.

They're amazingly odd creatures. Sure, we all see the lawn ornaments and we know they're pink. But it's one thing to know it and another to see that odd cotton-candy pinkness on actual real feathers. Their feet are Miami Vice pink. Their ankles (which look like they should be knees) are red. They are truly odd creatures.

Unfortunately, the flamingos seemed a bit bewildered at their new surroundings, and didn't do much at all except this. That is, they stood around in a big huddle for hours. Occasionally, one would stretch its luxurious wings and everyone would furiously try to snap a picture. Or a couple would peck and honk at each other.

But aside from that, they just stood around, looking vaguely embarrassed. Their bathing pond sat before them, unused.

So we watched them for all of fifteen minutes before Oliver got bored. We ended up stumbling into their fantastic display of protected birds, and saw some truly amazing creatures, including these Asian cranes.

We stopped by the flamingos on the way out and saw that they had attracted neighbors. A couple of neighborhood ducks decided that if the flamingos wouldn't use their pond, they'd make themselves comfortable. (The flamingo display is open-air, so other birds are welcome to drop in. I asked one of the docents how the flamingos could be trusted not to fly away, and he explained with a wince that their wings had been clipped by the collector who donated them to the zoo. "If we acquired our own flamingos, we probably wouldn't clip them.")

The ducks seemed to be the stimulus that the flamingos needed: they finally started acting lively, flapping their wings and honking agitatedly. The tight formation started breaking up, although by the time we left, none of them had dared to try and take the pond back from the ducks.

Despite the lackluster opening day, Oliver seemed excited to have flamingos in his home town. We're looking forward to seeing them once they've made themselves at home in their new surroundings.

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