Sunday, April 21, 2024

How a Team of Flight Attendants and Passengers Saved 6 Flamingo Eggs Aboard a Flight

A Seattle zoo recently shared a story about a heartwarming, midair rescue that involved six flamingo eggs.

In 2023, half a dozen flamingo eggs were selected to be transported from Atlanta’s zoo to a Seattle Zoo that had a group of flamingos that were done with breeding.

The plan was to have a zookeeper from the Woodland Park Zoo transport six of the eggs from Atlanta’s Zoo to Seattle’s via a six-hour flight. During that period, he would keep the eggs warm with a portable incubator.

In the middle of the flight, however, the incubator became defective and stopped working.

amber may
Flight attendant Amber May came up with the idea of filling rubber gloves with warm water to keep the eggs warm

Desperate to save the flamingo eggs, the zookeeper pressed the call button and asked one of the flight attendants if she could help keep some of the eggs warm. The attendant immediately sprung to action; she went to the galley and began to fill multiple rubber gloves with warm water.

Once she filled up all of the gloves, she brought them back to the zoo keeper, who formed a warm nest by wrapping them around the eggs.

Several passengers who were seated near the zoo official also offered their scarves and coats for extra warmth.

May continuously check on the zoo keeper and the eggs over the few hours, and would replace the gloves that had cooled with new ones.

According to Woodland Park Zoo animal care manager, Joanna Klass, the eggs would not have made it without any intervention. She also expressed her gratitude for the flight attendant and passengers’ creative thinking for saving the eggs.

The following month, the eggs hatched into six healthy birds at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. They were the first Chilean flamingo chicks to be hatched and raised at the facility since 2016.


After hatching, they were hand-raised by a team of experts at teh zoo, who fed them around the clock and took them on daily walks for exercise.

Several months after the fateful flight, May received a phone call from the zoo, who invited her to come visit the birds that she had helped save and to name one of the chicks.

She chose to name one of the male chicks ‘Sunny’, after her newborn granddaughter. The other flamingos included four females Gonzo, Rosales, Amaya, Magdalena, and one male named Bernardo.

flamingo egg
The flamingo eggs hatched into six healthy birds, including ‘Sunny’, who was named by the flight attendant who saved them on the flight

May and Sunny, her granddaughter, eventually traveled to Seattle in November, where they were able to meet Sunny face-to-face.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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