On Thursday, the Sacramento Zoo held its annual flamingo roundup – an event that enables it to conduct health checkups on almost 40 birds in one day.
A team of zookeepers quietly rounded the Carribbean flamingos in a white tent as a mobile team of five zoo veterinarians, three registered veterinary technicians, and 10 students from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine set up check-up stations.
“They are flock animals and most secure when they are all together. When they know something is off, they all run away together,” said Tonja Candelaria, spokeswoman for the zoo.
Black shade cloths were placed around the flamingo enclosure lake so the 36 gangly pink birds didn’t run into the water to escape.
First, the birds were weighed, and their individual IDs were confirmed by using implanted microchips. The general checkup included everything from beak to legs. Blood was drawn for a complete blood cell count. Each bird received the West Nile Virus vaccine and a worming medication.
Sacramento Zoo veterinarian Ray Wack performed the first check-up on June the flamingo so the veterinary students could watch and take notes.
The zoo’s flamingo flock is aging, Candelaria said, but in good health. “They are fabulous in their 40s,” she added.
Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @Jess_Hice