Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
The word “flamingo” comes from Spanish, meaning flame – an apt choice for the brightly-hued birds. Whether wading in the water or in flight, flamingos are a sight to see.
The long-legged animals themselves are native to parts of Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and other temperate-to-tropical locales.
But their plastic namesakes – the garden décor variety – are likely to pop up anywhere, especially in beach communities. In fact, there are probably more of the hot-pink plastic flamingos than the natural ones.
A garden accessory as popular – and some would say as essential – as the garden gnome and tiki torch, pink flamingos came to take up roost on our lawns and patios because of one person – Massachusetts artist and inventor Donald Featherstone, who developed them in 1957 as a product for his employer Union Products, a plastics manufacturer.
What better way to showcase the company’s plastics than to mold them into the eye-catching birds?
Both praised and put down by art critics and everyday people alike, pink flamingos have stood the test of time and become iconic symbols of a fun-loving lifestyle that isn’t afraid to be flamboyant (another word that means flame).
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have caught sight of the pink birds at the beach and throughout the OC. In fact, Patti even has a pink flamingo in her own back yard.
Patti’s husband Greg likes the colorful birds, too, even if he finds them puzzling.
Inspired by a wildlife photo in National Geographic magazine, Featherstone’s neon pink flamingo creation is now a bird for the ages, inviting us to look at the lighter side of life and to add a splash of color.
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