News & Politics

DC’s Flamingos Got Very Quiet During the Eclipse

What do they know that we don’t?

Photograph by Abby Wood, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

While DC may not have been in the path of totality of Monday’s solar eclipse, it’s safe to say the region came to a standstill for a brief moment that afternoon. Including, apparently, some of its pinkest residents.

According to Jen Zoon, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the zoo’s animal care team recorded only one report of unusual animal behavior during the eclipse: from the flamingos.

A curator in the Bird House, Zoon tells Washingtonian in an e-mail, “reported that the flamingos became very quiet at the height of the eclipse. Normally, they squabble all the time.”

She added that the curator reported the wild songbirds outside briefly went quiet during the eclipse before they started to sing their songs again a few minutes later. (Birds’ behavior during eclipses is a matter of great interest to scientists.)  

DC’s flamingos weren’t the only flock of their kind to have a strange reaction to the solar eclipse. Fort Worth, Texas’s NBC station reported that the flamingos at the Dallas Zoo, which were in the direct path of totality, gathered in the water during the blackout phase of the eclipse—their bedtime routine.

Arya Hodjat
Editorial Fellow