The rare seabird that landed in El Paso during Winter Storm Uri has finally been transported to Florida thanks to Southwest Airlines.

The El Paso Zoo and Zoological Society have teamed up with Southwest Airlines to return the displaced bird to Florida.

The Magnificent Frigatebird was aptly named ‘Amelia the Magnificent’ (after Amelia Earhart) by the zoo staff after it made an incredible voyage last month during the historic arctic freeze that swept through Texas.

An anonymous El Pasoan initially found the seabird and took it to the El Paso Zoo so that they could care for it.

El Paso Zoo Amelia The Magnificent Frigatebird
El Paso Zoo Amelia The Magnificent Frigatebird

The veterinary team “were able to do a thorough exam and radiographs on the female Frigatebird under anesthesia, and confirmed that she had no broken bones or injuries but was exhausted and very hungry.”

For the last month, Amelia remained at the zoo recovering from her desert journey while seeking a partner to help transport the bird back to the coast to a Florida Keys rehabilitation center.

Soon after, Southwest Airlines stepped in to offer transportation by allowing the Magnificent Frigatebird to travel in a crate in the main cabin with the Zoo’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Victoria Milne.

We’re happy to share that Amelia, the Magnificent Frigatebird that our vet staff nursed back to health in February, is...

Posted by El Paso Zoo on Saturday, March 13, 2021

Amelia will now be cared for at a Wild Bird Sanctuary for later release on Florida's coast.

Magnificent Frigatebirds are also known as a man o’ war soaring seabird named after a type of fast warship. The birds are notorious for chasing and harassing other seabirds until they drop their catch and steal it out of the air. These seabirds usually soar on the ocean breezes for hours using their 7-foot wingspan, barely needing to flap their wings.

High-five goes out to that Good Samaritan who found the bird and the El Paso Zoo, the Zoological Society, and Southwest Airlines for saving the life of Amelia the Magnificent.


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