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Pink Flamingo Day
"A flock of flirting flamingos is pure, passionate, pink pandemonium-a frenetic flamingle-mangle -a discordant discotheque of delirious dancing, flamboyant feathers, and flamingo lingo."
~ Charley Harper (1922-2007)
And who can say better than that? One of very few birds sporting a pink colour, the pink flamingo gets its unusual colour from pigments found in the algae and invertebrates that they eat. Without this diet, the flamingo's feathers tend towards a duller peach colour. And in a strange homage to this tropical bird, what started out as 1950s kitsch yard decor as a yearning for tropical sunshine, the retro prank of toilet papering your neighbor's house has given way to "flocking." Today's teen pranksters often will install a dozen or more of plastic pink flamingos in someone's yard in stealth overnight. In fact, "getting flocked" ends up being a kind of pink-hued recyclable badge of honor, which you then get to pass on to another deserving neighbor. 💗 🦩🦩🦩
Pink Flamingo Day was declared in 2007 by the mayor of Leominster, Massachusetts to honour the work of Don Featherstone, creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo, a whimsical garden front lawn fixture that you can still see every now and then.
Don Featherstone created the iconic piece in 1957 while working for Union Products. He based his design on photographs of flamingos from National Geographic because he was unable to get real flamingos to use as models. In 1996, Featherstone was awarded the 1996 Ig Nobel Art Prize (a parody of the Nobel Prize) for his creation of the pink flamingo.
There are six species of real modern flamingos and most of them live in Asia, Africa, and South America. Flamingos are pink because of carotenoids in the food they eat (shrimp, algae, and plankton) and if they’re not getting the right diet their color fades. It takes up to three years for baby flamingos to turn their gray feathers into a colorful coat. Hoaxes showing blue flamingos are regularly circulated. Don't be fooled.
This flamingo coloured tartan was designed by by Carol A.L. Martin to celebrate the 5000th tartan designed on Scotweb's tartan design site.
For an article about the rise and fall (and resurgence) of pink plastic lawn flamingos, including periods of lawn flamingo theft, click the real flamingos.