Suburbanites who flocked to buy BMWs and Cuisinarts will soon be madly feathering their nests with the garden-variety pink flamingo, say Coloradans who are snapping up the once-declasse decorative item at garden and hardware stores. "The symbol of the 1950s suburban squalor has turned into a yuppie housewarming gift," said Clark Driftmier at a garden store in suburban Denver. In Boulder, the plastic birds are used for neighborhood games of hide-and-seek. "Someone goes around at night and moves them from house to house. It's good, clean fun," said J. D. Dunwell, whose hardware store has sold thousands of the birds "for whatever reason" in the last year. And the birds offer the perfect opportunity to practice some reverse snobbery, say John and Maggie Thomas of Denver, who put two flamingos in their yard just "to be ornery." "They were a standing joke in the neighborhood last summer," Maggie said. "Then we left them out all winter to see if they'd fly south."
--Scientists in Laramie, Wyo., are wondering whether they shouldn't drag out the violins and red roses to nudge 17 highly endangered black-footed ferrets into producing baby ferrets. "We haven't given up, but it's frustrating as can be and getting worrisome," said Tom Thorne of the state Game and Fish Department's Sybille Canyon research facility. "We haven't had a female yet that we can identify as being in heat or a male that has wanted to breed." The department has provided the animals with bigger cages and is working with two on-site experts and leading authorities in small-animal reproduction in its second attempt to breed the endangered animals in captivity.
--A court has ruled that a pet-store bird with a thing for shiny stones was no gem when he snatched an amethyst from a woman's ring, and has ordered the shop owner to pay $88 to the aggrieved patron. Kirsten Westlund, a University of North Dakota student, said she was reaching for the bird, a Cuban conure named Cal, when "he bit down on my ring," she said. "In a matter of three or four seconds, the amethyst was gone." The store's owner, Tom Miller, said the stone did finally turn up in the bird's droppings, but the small-claims court ruled that Miller did not exercise reasonable care.
--A woman celebrating her 40th birthday came home to find 40 used tires in her front yard. The next day, 40 old campaign signs had been left on her lawn. Cheryl Brokering, of Lincoln, Neb., says she can take a joke. Now she's hoping prankster husband Paul, 36, can also. "I've four years to plan a revenge," she said, smiling. "I think I'll start planning tomorrow."