Yucatan Dispatch 2 September 01, 2009 from Las Coloradas, Mexico
The flamingo banding day was a spectacular event. Four o’clock in the morning found me excited on my way towards the flamingo colony. There a group of experts totally in the dark herded more than 500 flamingo chicks towards a previously constructed corral. Every movement had to be carefully done to avoid the stressed birds to panic and hurt themselves. Once the chicks were captive they were handed over to a member of one of the seven groups who measured and weighted each individual as well as attached two rings to the chicks feet. Each member of the team, be it a young kid or senior persons had to transport the chick through this process till it was banded taking the chick to the edge of the lagoon for release. This event, now in its tenth year, while helping support the important work of the NGO Niños y Crias, allows persons to have an intimate and unforgettable experience with wild animals.
Claudio Contreras returned to Río Lagartos and was able to successfully document the flamingo banding. This marks a successful return of flamingos to nest in the Yucatan. Last year, the flamingos did not nest because of the dry climate conditions. But this season, flamingos are nesting again in the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in a salt pond located in the salt district of the Yucatan known as ¨ La Esperanza ¨.
This is the first time in the history of the Yucatan flamingo conservation program that a large colony nests in a salt pond. In 2007, 80 pairs reproduced successfully in this area. Currently, an 8,000 pair colony is settled along a sandbar which stretches into a dyke, approximately 2m high over the water mirror of the pond.