Flamingos featured heavily this Christmas on Quest. Even back in August, when we first arrived in Bonaire, Delph pointed out fluffy, pink flamingo slippers in a shop window.
‘Christmas,’ she said sagely.
I almost didn’t buy them for her. At the last minute I had a psychic message and went to the shop to get them. Phew. They have been arguably her favourite Christmas present. The term, ‘walking on clouds,’ has also featured heavily since Christmas Day.
Perhaps every 13-year old girl should receive a pair of fluffy slippers. Thinking about it, I too had a pair at that age. Opus, the penguin from the Bloom County carton. Species Opii biggus schnozolus. Wore those slippers out. Delph won’t take hers off either. Even though it’s not exactly slipper weather.
‘They keep your feet cool,’ she insists.
The flamingos are natural to Bonaire. Bonaire has the largest flamingo sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. They were noted as far back on Bonaire in 1681 by privateer and captain William Dampier. I think they started eating them from there on. Now, flamingos can breathe easy they won’t be in the Christmas pie.
They start breeding from January to July – which means that breeding time is coming soon. Ohhhh. Why am I so excited about this? We’re not exactly going to hide behind the bushes while the flamingos get it on… Still, just think. Is there anything cuter than flamingos? It must be flamingo babies.
We’ve definitely seen a lot of flamingos flying overhead recently. They look like thin, pink swans. Apparently, they can grow up to five-and-a-half feet tall – but they only weigh eight pounds! That really is just a collection of pink feathers. And a beak.
Flamingos here lack natural predators. With this, there are up to 7,000 flamingos on the island at any one time. They do have to fly back to the mainland – Venezuela about 100km away, to feed. Apparently there isn’t enough food here to sustain them all. Then they fly back to Bonaire again.
We’ve noticed a marked increase in the slightly wretched number of two flamingos which usually hang out in the stinky-smelling lagoon behind the marina. There were at least twenty there the other day. Not that you can get close to them. When you take one step forwards, they take two back. Must have been all those Christmas pies.
Delph might have better luck than us. She does have flamingos on her feet. And a flamingo magnet. Flamingo pegs. Flamingo keychain.