The notorious No. 492, an African flamingo who escaped from a Kansas zoo in 2005, was spotted on Texas’ Coastal Bend earlier this year,Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said.

No. 492 was enjoying a leisurely day in the sun near Lavaca Bay, outside Victoria in South Texas on May 23, when a parks department intern snapped a photo of the mostly white, skinny-legged bird, said Julie Hagen, a social media specialist for the department’s Coast Fisheries Division.

The intern was on the bay last month to survey the area and track bird species there when he noticed the flamingo, Hagen said.

Parks employees were not briefed on the flamingo, so the intern had no idea he had caught a bird — that couldn’t be caught in real life — on camera.

When parks employees viewed the photo they realized it had the infamous No. 492 leg tag on, Hagen said. 

"So this isn’t the first time (it’s) been seen in Texas," she said. A bird watcher had noticed the flamingo in the Lavaca Bay area in 2013, she added.

Since being on the run, No. 492 also has been spotted in Louisiana and as far north as Wisconsin, Hagen said. 

The sneaky flamingo managed to escape from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas in 2005 before officials there could take its blood to determine its sex or give it a proper name, Hagen said. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-- Coastal Fisheries

In 2013, No. 492 was accompanied by a fellow flamingo friend.

"We don’t know if it’s a mate or a friend," she said.

But during this visit, the flamingo was alone.

Migrating between seasons could have landed the flamingo in Texas, Hagen said. 

"This might be on its migratory path," she said.

It’s been 13 years since the African flamingo escaped captivity in the Midwest.

On June 27, 2005, Sedgwick County Zoo employees were alerted to two flamingos wandering near a lake on the zoo’s property, outside of their enclosure, said Scott Newland, curator of birds at the zoo.

Employees attempted to recapture the birds, but as soon as they got within 50 yards, the animals would fly off, he said. 

"It became very clear it was going to be very difficult to recapture the birds," Newland said.

The pair managed to fly out of the zoo and spend a week in a nearby canal and were never seen again in Kansas. The bird who escaped with No. 492 is thought to be dead.

Then, perhaps by a gust of wind, the fleeing flamingo from Kansas and a Caribbean flamingo bonded and have been seen together since at least 2007.

Newland receives a call every two or three years because someone has spotted No. 492. Each time, the flamingo is usually seen with its Caribbean companion, who is thought to have been swept into the Gulf of Mexico during a storm years ago, he said.

When No. 492 was seen in 2013 near Lavaca Bay, it was accompanied by the Caribbean flamingo, Newland said. 

"I think the story of it pairing up with a Caribbean flamingo also shows that when you have these flocking species, they don’t want to be alone," Newland said. "They want to find companionship."

But during this Texas visit, No. 492 was alone.

"Today was the first time I’ve ever seen him not with the other bird," Newland said. 

Flamingos probably like the Texas weather, and the Gulf Coast provides the water and creatures the bird enjoys, Newland said. They eat plant and animal bits found in the water, and do better in warmer temperatures, he said.

It’s likely No. 492 could stay in the Lone Star State.

"From my seat, this story is less about the fact that we lost a flamingo, and more about how resilient they are and how amazing it is that 492 is alive and well and seems to be doing well along the Gulf Coast," Newland said.