Skip to main content

Here’s the super weird reason why the Bellagio fountain was shut down this week

What prompted the fountains to stop?

santouki / Pixabay

The stunning spectacle of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas came to an unexpected halt on Tuesday, all thanks to an uninvited guest: the majestic Yellow-billed Loon. This rare bird is normally found only in remote northern waters, so its arrival on the Las Vegas Strip was a complete surprise, prompting the temporary stopping of the iconic water displays and live shows. 

Yellow billed loon
Carrie Olson / Shutterstock

What is a Yellow-billed Loon?

In a social media post from the Bellagio Las Vegas, it was stated that the Yellow-billed Loon is one of the 10 rarest birds in the United States. The adventurous bird was far away from home, as it is primarily found in the Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. As its name suggests, the Yellow-billed Loon is characterized by its striking yellow bill, which is a stark contrast to its black and white feathers. The bird is known for its ability to dive deep underwater in search of fish.

We are happy to welcome the most exclusive guests.

The Fountains of Bellagio are paused as we work with state wildlife officials to rescue a Yellow-billed Loon, one of the 10 rarest birds in the U.S., that has found comfort on Las Vegas' own Lake Bellagio.

— Bellagio Las Vegas (@Bellagio) March 5, 2024

According to The National Park Service, the Yellow-billed Loon is classified as an international species of concern and is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline.

Why did the bird stop in Las Vegas?

So why did this rare bird decide to take a swim in the Bellagio fountain? According to department spokesperson Doug Nielsen in a statement to the Associated Press, the bird likely sought shelter from a storm as it was migrating north, which is not all that uncommon in The Valley. Nielsen explained that birds can sometimes get off course during their annual migration due to poor weather conditions or heavy winds.

“They normally nest around the Arctic Circle and winter in Canada, the U.S., Norway, or Siberia,” Kurt Buzard, a veteran bird spotter, told the AP. I think it’s lost and probably disoriented.”

Buzzard was worried for the bird as the man-made lake at the Bellagio does not have fish. So, if the bird had stopped to feed, it would be too hungry to continue its migratory path.

Bellagio fountain
Michelle_Raponi / Pixabay

The Bellagio fountain is now back up and running

All of the fountain shows were paused as security officials worked to figure out the best course of action. At first, they hoped that the bird would depart on its own, but the uninvited guest didn’t show any signs of leaving (we can’t blame him). On Wednesday, officials decided to capture the bird and relocate it to “a more suitable and remote location where it has space, food, and quiet surroundings.” 

“According to the biologist who oversaw the capture, the bird had no apparent injuries and appeared to be in good health,” the state wildlife department official said.

The department expects the bird to continue its migratory trek north. By late afternoon, the Bellagio fountain was turned back on, and all shows resumed as normal.

Editors' Recommendations

Amanda Teague
Amanda, an accomplished freelance writer with four years of experience, is a dedicated explorer of both the world and the…
Here’s why Gravity Haus is our top lodging choice in Breck
Going to Breck? Stay at Gravity Haus
Gravity Haus Breckenridge

Breckenridge, Colorado serves up abundant terrain and small-town charm. Set amongst five peaks — Peaks 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 — the storied resort combines big mountain challenges with easy-going enjoyment. No matter your skill level, you can find a trail to let loose and take it all in. 

After a long day on the hill, it’s nice to recuperate in comfort, share stories, and prepare for the next day. Gravity Haus lets you do that and more with an array of amenities and a modern design. Here’s what makes it different.

Read more
These 3 brands of ski or snowboard wax are the only ones we recommend: Here’s why
Sustainability matters with wax, too
Snowboard ready to wax

Waxing your skis or snowboard provides a smooth glide and enhances the durability of your equipment. Whether carving up groomers or floating through pow, a waxed board or skis offer a difference you can feel. And it's nice to know your equipment will be ready to ride for years when you take care of it properly.

But ski wax can be hazardous to your health. In the past, fluorinated ski and snowboard wax — also called fluoro wax — used harmful substances in the name of speed. While that enhanced performance, it also posed a risk to consumers and the environment. 

Read more
Après ski is cool, but the Swedish tradition of fika might be cooler: Here’s why
Apres ski and fika, a match made in heaven
Coffee cups cheers-ing

We all love the occasional après ski. The feeling of unclipping the boots, ripping off your helmet, and taking a deep exhale next to a roaring fire as you wait on a refreshing beer is unparalleled. It’s as much a time to relax and unwind as it is to catch up with buds that you may not have seen in a grip.

But what if I told you the Swedes have been brewing a tradition with similar vibes as après ski for the greater part of 100 years? Only, not for the slopes, but for the workplace. Keep reading to learn about the fika meaning.

Read more