PEA ISLAND, N.C. (WAVY) — It’s a development that’s got folks tickled pink.

Flamingos from down south — some as far away as Mexico — have been spotted across the East Coast and as far north as Ohio after scientists believe they hitched a ride with Hurricane Idalia.

And that includes the Outer Banks.

“Came down to get a lifer,” said Kerrie Lagon of Denver, vacationing in the Outer Banks with her family. “Put it on my life list, see a flamingo in the wild.”

Normally when people stop in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge’s visitor’s center, they ask what kind of wildlife they’ll typically see here, but the current the big question is ‘Where are the flamingos?’

“We’re not avid bird watchers,” said Don McDonald of Kitty Hawk. “But this is something just to help out.”

One couple drove four hours Wednesday morning from Chapel Hill to see the flamingos, and another man made an overnight trek from Connecticut to Pea Island. A volunteer at the visitor’s center said he had never seen the refuge quite like it has been in recent days.

Photographer Jeffrey Lewis of Southern Shores drove down to Pea Island Saturday after there were reports of flamingo sightings in neighboring states, and he couldn’t believe his eyes as he snagged a few photos of the birds.

“Way off in the distance was a little shimmer of pink,” Lewis said, “and I was like, ‘could it be? Could it be?’ (As) they got closer and closer, my heart almost stopped, and I saw that they really were flamingos.”

Some were also reported on Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.

Susan Hunter with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said typically you see small birds brought in by hurricanes, but not flamingos.

Some of the birds are from the Yucatán Peninsula, based on tracking bands placed by researchers there, but they could’ve been picked up anywhere in the Caribbean, Hunter said.

She said most of the birds will hopefully try to make their way back south, but they could stay awhile due to current warm weather in our area.

Meanwhile, people are enjoying the chance to catch a glimpse of a rare bird for these parts. Lagon was sharing her birding scope with dozens of others wanting to see the flamingos, too.

“Their expressions when they see it (are) like, ‘wow,’ or ‘this is my mom’s favorite bird,” Lagon said. … “There’s just nothing like seeing it.”