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Quick-Thinking Flight Attendant Helps Save Rare Flamingo Eggs When Disaster Strikes

Left part of image shows the six hatchlings from the saved flamingo eggs. Right image shows flight attendant Amber May of Alaska Airlines.

Airline flight attendants have a tough job. On average, they might contend with unruly or sick passengers, overly demanding people, crying children, and much more. But on occasion, the job can also be gratifying. Amber May, a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines, had a heartwarming moment during a flight from Atlanta, GA, to Seattle, WA, in August 2023. When the flight boarded, Amber had no idea she would help save six rare Chilean flamingo eggs.


#Flightattendant Amber May’s quick thinking saved six #rare Chilean #flamingo eggs after their #incubator broke on the plane. #DavidMuir has more on what happened to those eggs, and the special visit a few weeks later. #WorldNewsTonight #News #GoodNews #Seattle #Washington #AnericaStrong

♬ original sound – ABC World News Tonight

The passenger transporting the eggs from Atlanta’s Zoo to Woodland Park Zoo had a simple job. He needed to monitor the portable incubator and ensure the eggs stayed warm during the six-hour flight. Less than an hour into the flight, the incubator quit working, so the zookeeper hailed the flight attendant and asked for help saving the flamingo eggs.

Image shows Alaska Airlines flight attendant Amber May.
Image from Facebook.

After receiving the unusual request, Amber went to work to improvise a solution. Rummaging around in the plane’s galley, she found rubber gloves. Filling the gloves with warm water, she assisted the zookeeper in wrapping the improvised hot water bottles around the eggs. Then, another amazing thing happened.

Passengers sitting near the zookeeper offered scarves and coats to insulate the fragile eggs further. Amber and other flight crew members continued to check on the eggs throughout the flight. The gloves were replaced with fresh, warm ones as they got cool. Her efforts to save the rare flamingo eggs did not go unnoticed.

Image shows a flamingo inspecting one of its eggs in a nest. Stock image.
Image from Facebook.

These rare Chilean flamingo eggs are essential. The clutch of eggs was being transported to Woodland Park Zoo to replenish their flock. The flamingos at Woodland are all past breeding age. Amber’s quick thinking, the flight crew, and generous passengers worked together to save the flamingo eggs.

Saving The Flamingo Eggs Isn’t The End Of This Story

After the flamingo eggs got to the zoo safely, staff placed them in an incubator. A month later, the eggs hatched. Zoo personnel hand-raised the hatchlings, feeding them and taking them for daily walks. The zoo reports that the six flamingo eggs saved by Amber’s action are the first to hatch there since 2016.

Three panel image shows young flamingos Amaya, Bernardo, and Gonzo, who hatched from the flamingo eggs that Amber May helped to save.
Images from Instagram.

The baby chicks grew and grew under the care of Woodland Park Zoo staff. When they were about five months old, the zoo acknowledged Amber’s quick thinking. She received a personal invitation to visit the flamingos and to have the honor of naming one of the male birds. Amber chose the name “Sunny” in honor of her newborn granddaughter. Amber and her granddaughter went to the zoo to visit with the flamingos.

Three panel image shows young flamingos Magdalena, Rosales, and Sunny, who hatched from the flamingo eggs that Amber May helped to save.
Images from Instagram.

Four of the hatchlings got their names from zoo staff. Woodland Park Zoo held a public poll to name a fifth, and Amber got to name the sixth. Of the six eggs, four are female, and two are male. The second male is Bernardo. Magdelena won the public poll, and the other three girls are Gonzo, Amaya, and Rosales. These six hatchlings are now an integral part of the flock, which now numbers 49 birds. The young birds won’t reach breeding age until they are six.

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