Birmingham Zoo

Just because the Birmingham Barons and the Birmingham Zoo aren’t open to the public doesn’t mean their employees are just sitting around doing nothing.

Both entertainment hot spots are finding ways of supporting each other during their lengthy, mandatory downtime.

The flamingos weren’t thrilled about unexpected guests since it’s mating season, but the Birmingham Barons recently stopped by with a gift for the zoo.

“They’re one of our community partners and they co-sponsor our family Sundays,” said Hannah Echols with the Barons. “On select Sundays they bring out animals for our fans and guests, and it’s always a big hit. They have people crowding around just wanting to learn more, and it’s very educational.”

So what do the Barons have that the zoo’s flamingos sorely need? Surprisingly enough, the answer is dirt.

The mixture of clay and sand the Barons use in their infield is perfect for flamingos searching for a place to settle down and lay their eggs.

“Flamingos in the wild live in marshy areas around a lot of water, and they build their nests on the edge of that water, so they need some insurance for when it might flood,” said Hollie Colahan, who works at the Birmingham Zoo. “So they build these mounds out of the dirt to get their nest about a foot off the ground, so when water comes in it doesn’t wash away their eggs.”

The Birmingham Zoo has not yet been lucky enough to hatch any flamingos. It’s tricky business, but they’re hoping the new nesting material does the trick.

“It’s perfect for our infield and for the players, and apparently it’s perfect for the flamingos,” Echols said. “Especially since we’re in a delay right now with the season, we’re happy this is being used for something good.”

If the zoo is lucky, they’ll have some fluffy flamingo chicks this summer thanks to the Birmingham Barons.

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