Despite its name, there has long been debate as to whether flamingos ever spent much time in Flamingo. It seems evident that they once did, although many sightings over the years have been attributed to birds that escaped from Miami attractions.
Until the turn of the century, several hundred flamingos migrated from summer breeding grounds in the Bahamas and wintered in Florida Bay. Old accounts exist of hunting flamingos for meat in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, although habitat losses at vital nesting sights most likely contributed to the birds' disappearance from these waters.
Today, however, flamingos are again occasionally sighted in their historic haunts near Flamingo. In recent years flocks of up to 30 have been sighted in Florida Bay, and occasionally in Snake Bight. The origin of these birds is not known. Speculation ranges from possible escapees from a free-flying flock at the Hialeah Race Track to truly wild birds wandering in from remaining protected breeding grounds in the Bahamas.