This year marks the 45th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s Animals and the 17th anniversary of a very special day for an animal named Pink Floyd. Floyd, an African flamingo, escaped from a Kansas zoo in 2005, and was just spotted happy and healthy in the balmy waters of Cox Bay, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Looks like Pink Floyd has returned from the ‘dark side the of moon,'” the Texas Parks and Wildlife Coastal Fisheries posted on Facebook, alongside a video of the avian celebrity strutting his stuff next to some seagulls. This fine feathered Floyd has occasionally been spotted frequenting Texas beaches, and each resurfacing is met with a celebration for the former zoo denizen who refused to be another beak in the wall.
According to The New York Times, Pink Floyd, also identified as No. 492, was part of a flock of flamingos that in 2003 was shipped from Tanzania to the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. It’s common for young birds to receive a partial wing amputation to keep them from attempting an escape. But while the procedure is painless in baby birds, it can be traumatizing for adults, and so zookeepers made the decision to periodically clip the flamingos’ wings. Then they forgot.
So in 2005, Pink Floyd and his flock mate No. 347 made a break for it. They hung around a Wichita drainage canal for a while, eluding every attempt to recapture them. Finally, on July 4th, 2005, a massive storm caused them to take flight. 347 headed north, where it was spotted once in Michigan and then never again. But 492 made the sensible decision to fly 700 miles south all the way to Texas, where the equatorial bird would be well-equipped to pass the winter.
Pink Floyd is thought to be about 27 years old and seems destined to live out the remainder of his years in blissful freedom. “There really isn’t an easy way to recapture the bird,” a spokesperson for the Wichita Zoo told the Associated Press in 2007. “It would only disturb wildlife where it’s been found and possibly could do more damage to the bird than just leaving him alone.”
As for the band named Pink Floyd, in December they surprise released a dozen 1970s live albums. And yet a full band reunion remains farther away than the 700 miles between Wichita and Cox Bay; Nick Mason even recently likened Roger Waters to Stalin. But the members did come together long enough to pull their music from streaming services in Russia to protest the invasion of Ukraine.