WHERE DID THEY COME FROM, ANYWAY?
Born in September 1957, one of the icons of the American landscape, the pink plastic flamingo, is over 50 years old! But where did it come from?
Would you believe a very serious sculptor and classical art student who needed a job? Although you might believe the plastic flamingo was a figment of the unemployed mind, quite the opposite is true; it was actually a New England plastics company's idea! (stuffy New England? Yes, New England.)
Don Featherstone, flamingo father, was hired to sculpt three-dimensional versions of the plastics company's two most popular two-dimensional products: the duck and the flamingo. While he obtained a live duck to model for him (no, we don't know how he did that either), he used pictures and National Geographic magazine to sculpt his now famous flamingos. Mr. Featherstone is the winner of a 1996 Ig Noble Prize for Art. [Each year, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the editors of the Annals of Irreproducible Results present their Ig Noble Awards, in a parody of the Nobel awards ceremony.]
The present use of the plastic flamingo began in Canada sometime in the last 25 years and migrated to the U.S. in about 1990. During the middle of the night, flocks of 50 birds land in someone's front yard as a birthday, holiday or anytime surprise! They migrate again that evening, only to appear to another yard the next morning! Although the plastic flamingo was never intended for its current use as a night migrating massive lawn display, maybe there is no deterring of destiny! That wonderful pink icon of tackiness is more popular now than ever before!
When the plastic flamingo turned 40, they even got a full page in National Geographic! They held a photo contest, the results of which you'll have to see to believe! Check out the winners on our photo contest page.
Unfortunately, the company who makes the original plastic flamingo went out of business in 2006, so they now facing extinction. Fortunately, the remaining birds have landed in Phoenix and will be here for a long time to come. You can even adopt a pair of the original birds directly from us. Own an American icon!
Flamingos by night