Dozens of plastic pink flamingos --the kitschy icons of Florida as tropical paradise-- have made a mysterious appearance in a Maitland neighborhood this week. I came across this scene Tuesday, where a prankster (or a resident flamingo aficionado) set up a flock of the famous yard ornaments in a front yard on Dommerich Drive.
It may look like a quintessential Florida scene, but did you know that the Flamingo bird is not actually native to the Sunshine State? No one knows for sure, but the birds are thought to have migrated here from the Caribbean and Central America, probably in the early 1800s. John James Audubon, the renowned 19th century ornithology artist, produced his famous painting of the American Flamingo in 1838 after an encounter with the birds in the Florida Keys. The yard-art version made its way into the pop landscape in 1957 when a Massachusetts-based plastics manufacturing executive named Don Featherstone invented them. In the ensuing years, the plastic flamingos have endured to become a symbol of life in the Florida tropics. Certainly apropos this week, with central Floridians enjoying sunny skies and highs in the 70s, while the rest of the northern U.S. stays mired in freezing winter weather.
Joe Burbank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the Sentinel photo staff on Twitter @OSPhoto. Like us on Facebook: Orlando Sentinel Photography.