A flamingo on Great Salt Lake?

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Meet Pink Floyd — the pink flamingo and national legend that escaped an aviary and made a home at Great Salt Lake.

In 1988, Pink Floyd lived at Tracy Aviary. On wing feather cutting day, park rangers said Pink Floyd was hiding.

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In a 1999 interview, Tracy Aviary employee Nigella Hillgarth said Pink Floyd was most likely flapping his wings, realized he could actually take off, “and probably flew very high and was out of here very quickly.”

The day the aviary lost a flamingo, Great Salt Lake happened to gain one.

The escaped bird taunted Great Salt Lake authorities throughout the 1990s into the 2000s — staying there for more than a decade of winters.

Can you imagine being a ranger back then?

Clint Baty can. In a 1992 interview he said that the first time he saw the flamingo, he reported it and was called crazy.

“They asked me if there was an elephant with him,” Baty said.

Mark Stackhouse, another aviary employee, said in a 1992 interview that he suspects once Pink Floyd got above the tree top level he could probably see the lake, and it looked like something a flamingo could go out to.

Pink Floyd and his family happened to be from Chile, where they lived on a rare high altitude salt lake with brine shrimp.

Now, where in the U.S. could you find an inland salt water lake with brine shrimp?

This flamingo was extremely lucky, Hillgarth said.

The aviary reportedly tried to get law enforcement involved in Pink Floyd’s great escape, but the flamingo had the upper hand … or the upper wing.

“We thought long and hard about how we might recapture him and it all sounded like Keystone Cops to us. So we figured he was probably here for the duration,” Stackhouse said.

So, Pink Floyd joined the other birds.

This lasted for nearly 17 years. Each summer, Pink Floyd went to some mysterious place, but each winter he was back — making him a national legend.

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