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Pink Flamingos, Kitsch Art, and IG Nobel Prizes

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Pink plastic flamingos in our neighbor's yard

Pink plastic flamingos in our neighbor's yard

Pink Plastic Flamingos

Back during the 1950s, a kitschy lawn ornament was a plastic pink flamingo or even a grouping of them. Donald Featherstone created the plastic flamingos. This mass-produced form of art is known as kitsch.

Some people consider plastic flamingos in a yard to be gaudy, and others find them to be sentimental and fun. My grandmother had a couple of them in her front yard. In my grandmother's case, it reminded her of their many trips to Florida during the cold Wisconsin winter months of the year.

For the announcement of a birthday or other event, today we still can see a yard filled with plastic flamingos. It is hard to miss such an attention grabber! People can rent them for special occasions. We have seen some on occasion celebrating such milestones as a 40th or 50th birthday.

Whether we know the person or not, it brings smiles to our faces when we view such a temporary display of kitsch art. Our neighbors recently had a bunch of them placed in their yard as a type of joke. They will soon pass them on to other friends of theirs, bringing smiles to more faces.

Kitsch Art

IG Nobel Prizes

Donald Featherstone accepted his IG Nobel Prize for his creation of the plastic pink flamingos in 1996. The category was art.

Each year since 1991, ten recipients receive these parodies of prizes. They "honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think." Discoveries and inventions spanning subjects ranging from mathematics to economics to medicine and psychology are just some examples.

Have you ever opened a magazine and been offered the opportunity to scratch and sniff a perfume sample? In 1993 a dual IG Nobel Prize award was given to James Campbell and Gaines Campbell for inventing those scent strips.

Are you a blue-colored jello fan? That award went to Ivette Bassa in 1992, who created the colloid, which made blue jello possible.

And the Blue Jello IG Nobel Prize goes to Ivette Bassa!

Rainbow jello cut

Rainbow jello cut

Sense of Humor, An Asset

In the first year of awards, Alan Kligerman was the recipient of a prize. His invention was the product Beano. Have you ever tried that product and found it to be useful?

A few of the prize winners were fictitious. A sense of humor is an asset when pondering those awards! Some of the inventions turn out to be of some use, but many are just plain silly. Yet time and effort went into the creation of each of them.

If you take the time to look at the full list of IG Nobel Prize winners, you will be amazed. I promise! They come from all walks of life.

A person who received this tongue-in-cheek award was Sir Andre Geim. He also received a real Nobel Prize for his work with graphene.

IG Nobel Prizes

Real Flamingo Birds, Not Plastic Ones

The first photo above was taken by me when we visited Discovery Island many years ago at Walt Disney World in Florida. It shows a flock of flamingos. Greater flamingos and three other species are in the Americas, with two types in the Old World.

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This tall wading bird prefers living near warm watery regions where they dip their curved bills into the water and filter out their food from the mud and water. They then swallow the filtered algae, small fish, shrimp-like crustaceans, and other things. The more shrimp and algae that flamingos consume containing beta carotene, the brighter pink or even red-pigmented their color becomes.

Flamingo chicks are born grey and white. It takes several years to become more colorful like their parents, all depending upon their diet.

See and learn more about flamingos, specifically those from the Caribbean, by watching the video presented below.



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

Those IG Nobel Prizes were new information to me also when I first learned about them. It is rather fun information to know. (Smile) Thanks for your comment.

Misbah Sheikh on March 02, 2021:

Very nice article, I really enjoyed reading it

I have never heard about this noble prize before

thanks for sharing


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2021:

Hi Alex,

I think that when you see a flock of pink plastic flamingos in a yard, it generally is meant for a humorous nod to an occasion like a birthday or anniversary. It is an attention-getter. The IG Nobel Prizes was new information for me.

Alex on March 01, 2021:

Pink plastic flamingos are a gaudy eyesore. Will never understand why people display them other than perhaps for a perverse joke.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 22, 2020:

Hello Manuela,

The plastic pink flamingos have been popular for many years in the United States, especially for marking fun occasions.

Manuela from Portugal on June 22, 2020:

I like flamingos but I never heard about plastic flamings to decorate yards. But they surely look very nice.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 25, 2019:

Hi Dale,

Perhaps you will surprise your wife with a yard full of plastic flamingos for her next birthday or some other special occasion? They are fun to view for a day or a few days.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 24, 2019:

I will admit that I have a strange affection (my wife would call it an obsession) for flamingos. She lives in fear that she will wake up one day and find both the front and back yards of our house populated with plastic flamingo decorations..... She has a pretty good chance of being right,

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 11, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

Like you, I enjoyed learning about the IG Nobel Prizes and was unaware of them until I learned about the original creator of the pink flamingos. Some of those awards sound a bit crazy, but some obviously have value.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 10, 2018:

I wasn't aware of kitsch form of art nor the IG Nobel prizes. The plastic flamingoes do look very soothing. Interesting flamingo facts I was not aware of. Thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 30, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

Happy that you found this article informative and well as fun. Like you I like learning new things. I had no idea that there were IG Nobel Prizes until I researched and found out more about the creator of the plastic flamingos. Sending smiles your way today.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 30, 2018:

Wow...all I have to do is read and I find out how much I really do not much here of interest and that has filled some gray matter in my head bone this not see flamingos in the wild here that are living but often see the plastic ones that are so whimsical...never had any in the yard but smile when I see them in the yard of another. Once again Angels will cross your path today and YOU are an Angel too. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 20, 2018:

Hi Eileen,

Like you I had never previously heard of the IG Nobel Prizes. In researching about how all of those artificial pink flamingos originated I stumbled upon that award. It is fun and quirky at the same time.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 19, 2018:

Never heard of these awards. Sound fun. Will look out for them now Peggy

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 03, 2017:

Hi Roberta,

I would not want a plastic flamingo in our yard either but my grandma certainly liked hers. Like you I enjoyed learning about the IG Nobel Prizes.

RTalloni on December 02, 2017:

Flamingos are such fun, though I wouldn't use them as yard decor. Good for your Grandma! I love the big dangly earrings, the sweaters, hats and the whole lot of flamingo themed stuff and such, but have only been able to bring myself to wearing a brooch at times. I guess I love seeing them on others. :) Neat look at the awards.

RTalloni on December 02, 2017:

I'm actually a huge flamingo fan, but would not use them as yard ornaments. Nor wear the large dangly earrings, as much as I love them, though I've been known to wear a flamingo brooch. Good for your Grandma! A fun read here.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 14, 2016:

Hi Patricia,

I prefer seeing the real ones to plastic flamingos also, but it was fun learning about the creator of them and also the IG Nobel Prizes.

Sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 13, 2016:

Peggy, I know when I come to your pages that I will learn something and find something that will make me think which is one of the reason I keep coming back.

Learned a lot here....seen many flamingos...plastic and living...but never thought I needed one in my, not so much.

Take care of you, my friend.

Angels once again winging their way to you ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 18, 2016:

Hi Patricia,

Thanks for the special greetings. Sending those good wishes back to you! :)

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 17, 2016:

Just stopping in to wait good morning and remind you that Angels are headed your

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 10, 2016:

Hi Patricia,

Nice to know that you are enjoying a wrought iron flamingo in your lawn. Sending you and your family well wishes and prayers.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 01, 2016:

You can still see the pink lawn flamigos on lawns here. I hav a flamingo's about four feet tall and is wrought iron. Love to see the live ones...they always Angels are headed to you once again.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 30, 2016:

Hi Au fait,

I like natural things like flowers and shrubs in the yard also. You will not find a plastic pink flamingo in our yard. Ha! We have lucked out regarding not being flooded...but so many are affected in our area. Very sad situation...and more rain predicted later this week + the start of hurricane season. The ground is saturated!

C E Clark from North Texas on May 28, 2016:

I remember when lots of people had flamingos in their yards. Of course their popularity has come back somewhat. I've never been fond of 'stuff' in the yard. Flowers, etc., are OK, but stuff I had to move to mow I never really liked. Shared this with followers and pinning to Awesome HubPages.

Very humid up here and it feels so much hotter as a result! We've had way too much rain and there's been some flooding and people getting caught up in it. Hope all well for you down there.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2016:

Hi Robert,

We still see flocks of the plastic ones that pop up in yards every now and then announcing a birthday, etc. Not often...but when they do...they are certainly noticeable.

Robert Sacchi on May 23, 2016:

Yes, for a while yard flamingos were all the rage. It seemed at the time people liked everything Florida.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

Hi Rachel,

Yes it is true that what flamingos eat determines their color as adults. So happy to hear that you enjoyed learning this and more by reading this hub.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on May 12, 2016:

Hi Peggy. I thoroughly enjoyed your hub about flamingoes. They are even prettier then I thought. Looking at the video there is some white in them also. I also didn't know that what they eat gives them more color. Thanks for this hub on flamingoes. Very nice,

Blessings to you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2016:

Hi Frank,

Nice to know that you enjoyed that video of the flamingo hatching. Nature is amazing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2016:

Hi Jackie,

Flocks of flamingos are truly beautiful. Can't blame you for becoming mesmerized by them. Enjoy your plastic ones. My grandmother surely enjoyed hers. :) Thanks for the share.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 29, 2016:

You know peggy w, what was amazing was that video of the hatching.. thank you again for putting the beauty of nature right here in our faces.. awesome hub my friend :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2016:

Hi Bill,

I had never heard of the IG Nobel Prizes either until I heard mention of it when listening to the video about the creator of the plastic flamingo. I had to back up the video and listen to it again to make sure of what I was hearing. Then I did some research to find out more about it. I like learning new things also. :)

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 25, 2016:

I saw I guess a flock (?) of the pink flamingos at one of our zoos and they were so beautiful, so hard to walk away from them!

I have two plastic ones I just cannot give up! lol


Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 25, 2016:

Hi Peggy. I've never heard of the IG Nobel prize. How interesting. I learned something new today. I'll have to check out the entire list.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2016:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

It is fun to see a whole grouping of those pink flamingos on a lawn celebrating some type of event. As to the IG Nobel Prizes...some of them are truly preposterous! Good for a laugh as long as government funds are not monetizing the studies.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 25, 2016:

I love the kitsch of pink flamingoes. They're a real attention grabber. I've never heard of the IG Nobel prize but enjoyed learning about them here. Scratch and sniff definitely deserves some kind of award.

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