Floyd the flamingo standing in his pen

A Flamingo Leg Up

Flamingo standing in shallow water

A flamingo’s long legs are an important adaptation. They keep most of the bird’s body dry and warm while it wades in water, searching for food. Floyd, a flamingo at the San Diego Zoo, had a problem with his legs, but the Zoo's wildlife care specialists were able to help him!

One of Floyd's wildlife care specialists helps him to stand.

Straightening out

As Floyd grew, wildlife care specialists noticed that his legs were crooked. Veterinarians did three surgeries to help straighten Floyd’s legs. But after the surgery, Floyd needed to not stand on his legs to let hem heal. Luckily, his care specialists had a plan.

One of Floyd the flamingo's animal care specialists holds him up off his feet as his legs heal.

Have a seat, Floyd!

From the time he was just a fuzzy chick, wildlife care specialists noticed that Floyd was kind of a “lap flamingo.” He liked to sit in their laps or have them hold him, so that’s what they did while his legs healed! “For 2 weeks, someone was always holding him, 24-hours a day,” says Kristina Nelson, a senior animal care specialist at the Zoo. “He was very happy with that!”

Floyd rests in his suspended sling.

Special care

As Floyd’s legs got stronger, the staff made a sling so he could practice standing. In between times, the wildlife care specialists held him. They even stayed with him at night. “Sometimes we’d watch a movie on a tablet,” Kristina remembers. “Floyd watched ‘Finding Nemo’ and was very interested in it!”

Floyd being held by a wildlife care specialist's hands

Such a good story

Floyd was such a good patient and his recovery went so well, we thought everyone would be amazed by his story—which has been put into a book, Fabulous Floyd: The True Story of a Flamingo Who Never Gave Up, from our "Hope & Inspiration" series. The next time you face something that seems impossible, remember Floyd, ask for help, and give it your best effort!