Denver Zoo shares story of same-sex 'love birds'

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DENVER (KCNC/CNN/Gray News) The Denver Zoo is outing a pair of its animals for LGBTQ Pride month.

The flamboyant flamingos are called Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury, after the 'N Sync and Queen singers.

The flamboyant flamingos are called Lance Bass and Freddie Mercury, after the 'N Sync and Queen singers.

The two males paired up in the zoo's flock of nearly 80 birds.

"They have plenty of choices to choose from," birdkeeper Brittney Weaver said. "So, we can't really control what they choose."

Freddie Mercury is a Caribbean flamingo, who came to the zoo in 1970. Lance Bass is a Chilean flamingo, who hatched in Denver in 2001.

The same-sex love birds paired up a few years ago.

"This happened in 2014 that we started noticing them hanging out and spending a lot of time together," Weaver said.

"Then, we saw them participating in all those courtship behaviors and then when they finally built that nest, that's when we knew."

The male-to-male pairing is rare, but not unique, according to Weaver.

And while they can't have chicks of their own, they can act as surrogate parents.

"If there is a genetically viable chick that we want to ensure its survival, we can kind of swap the chick around and give it to more experienced pairs," the birdkeeper said.

And, as far as the names go, Weaver says that's on her.

She loves music and her passion for it just kind of took over.

"All the flamingos are named after musicians," Weaver said. "We wanted to name them appropriately for their relationship."

The love story hasn't gone unnoticed by the real Lance Bass.

"This is the best!!" the singer said on Facebook. "I hope Lance is the one w the frosted tips!!"

The two Lances may get to meet face-to-face this summer.

Zoo officials have invited the 'N Sync star to a special a flamingo-themed event they are planning in August.

Hopefully, the human Lance Bass will make it. Otherwise, the feathered one may be in a fowl mood.

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