Flamingos land in Hawkins’ yard

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 30, 2000

Features Editor

April 30, 2000 10 PM

No students were involved in what was first thought to be a prank at the home of Troy State University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. recently.

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Hawkins received a call from an unidentified person around 2:30 p.m. saying there was a "flamingo dancer" at his home.

Because the students are in a flutter over finals, Hawkins thought the incident was a harmless prank to relieve end-of-semester stress.

Hawkins rushed home from his office on the TSU campus but found no "flamingo dancer" at his home. Instead, he found a flock of flamingos prancing on his lawn.

Knowing that, for the past two years, Troy has been in the migratory flight pattern of pink flamingos making their way from South America to the cool climate of Canada, Hawkins immediately called the Edge Regional Medical Center Pink Flamingo Eradication Team.

Within 10 minutes,team members, John Plantinga and Tom Boyd, were on the scene. They scattered Pink Flamingo Eradication Powder on Hawkins’ lawn and said he could expect the pink birds to be gone within 24 hours.

The powder was developed in the ERMC lab by Barbara Synco and her team of technicians last year when the pink flamingos revisited Troy. The powder is successful in moving the birds from the lawn where it is scattered but the birds will quickly move to another lawn.

According to Plantinga, an expert on pink flamingo eradication, the birds choose only the most luscious lawns on which to settle.

"The powder will move the birds but we expect, as in the past two years, the pink flamingo flock will be here until May 19."

That is the date for Relay for Life and Plantinga said all of the activity surrounding the event seems to unnerve the flamingos and they seek a town without so much excitement and enthusiasm in the air.

Until then, residents of Troy can expect to see the pink flamingos moving from lawn-to-lawn. However,the birds do no damage but they do attract the attention of neighbors and pink flamingo gawkers.

"Residents just don’t want bird watchers gathering at their house day and night, so the Pink Flamingo Eradication Team comes in, scatters the powder and moves them around," Plantinga said.

The team has found that, either the powder or the presence of the pink flamingos, causes the blooms to be bigger and foliage to be greener, the following year on the lawns where they have settled. So, the ERMC has also developed a Pink Flamingo Attracting Powder for those wishing to have the birds enhance their lawn or the lawn of a neighbor.

Because of the technology necessary in developing the Pink Flamingo Eradication Powder, there is a small charge of $50 to eradicate the birds.

And, for the same small fee, the team will scatter Pink Flamingo Attracting Powder,

"The pink flamingos are a nice way to surprise a neighbor," Plantinga said.

All proceeds from the eradication of pink flamingos goes to benefit Relay for Life.

If it were not for all the clamor caused by Relay, the pink flamingos could be in Troy until the first winter frost, Boyd said.

"We owe it to them for all the good they do.,"

To have pink flamingos eradicated from a lawn or to have them surprise a neighbor, call the Pink Flamingo Eradication Team at 670-5000.