Posted by: David Giacalone | February 14, 2014

flamboyance again! two flocks of flamingos visit Lawrence and the Stockade

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– flamingos arrived in two waves around 10 PM on the eve of Valentine’s Day –

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. . . More photos were taken first thing in the morning, under gray skies, and then later in the day, under blue skies.

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StockadeFlamingos13Feb2014v-001 After a two-year absence, pink (plastic) flamingos have again made a Valentine’s Day visit to Lawrence Circle in the Schenectady Stockade, arriving overnight, to renew a much-loved neighborhood mystery and tradition — despite a major snowstorm that has “buried the Capital Region“.  Indeed, upon close scrutiny, flamingologists concur that two different flocks have arrived and romantically commingled at Lawrence Circle (Front St. at North Ferry and Green Streets) in the heart of the Stockade, across from the newly-revived Arthur’s Market.

To learn more about the Stockade’s flamboyant flamingos, see our coverage for 2010 Valentine’s Day and 2011 Valentine’s day, and read the history of this Stockade event, along with more pink flamingo lore at the editor’s retired weblog f/k/a. follow-up: see our flamingo 2015 coverage, too.

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And, go to our follow-up to this post, “gracious in gray,” to see the photos that appear on the cover of the March 2014 Stockade Spy, and six other pictures that show flamingos don’t have to be pink to be pretty.

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  update (March 15, 2014): Click the following link to see my first photo book, called “Valentine Flamingos in the Schenectady Stockade: whimsy and mystery at Lawrence Circle (2009-2014)”.  It was made at Shutterfly.com, which lets you preview the entire book without buying it.  There are about 60 photos in the 20-page book, with a text that tells the story of our enjoyable, romantic Valentine tradition. [I receive no proceeds from any books purchased at Shutterfly, nor from click-throughs to the Shutterfly site. As noted on my Photobooks page, I will provide any of my photobooks at my price for printing them, if you contact me directly.]

More photos were taken with daylight, and as the day and sky progressed, and the results are found in the Slideshow and Gallery below.

– share this posting with the URL: http://tinyurl.com/2014StockadeFlamingos

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The Slideshow has about 4 dozen photos.  You can see each of the photos in the Gallery at the end of this posting.  Just click on a Gallery photo for a larger version.

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 Bonus for the Kids: A Craft Project for Flamingo Fans. The National Wildlife Foundation has directions for making Flamingo Valentines (get out your pink pipe cleaners).

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Why Flamingos and Valentine’s Day? Mistaking my taking photographs for having expertise in the subject matter, people have occasionally asked me why flamingos have become associated with Valentine’s Day here in the Schenectady Stockade.  I don’t know the motivation or thought processes of the original mysterious-anonymous Stockade Flamingo Flockers.  But, I searched the topic recently on Google and came up with a couple of reasons for connecting flamingos and Valentine’s Day.

  • As you can see from the photo mock-up at the head of this paragraph, flamingos who “kiss” by touching their beaks and staring into each-other’s eyes form the shape of a heart. Pink-Flamingo.net uses the heart resemblance to help market flamingo decorations, jewelry and other items as Valentine Day gifts.
  • Flamingos have mating rituals, breeding habits and child-rearing habits that are rather romantic.  For details, see the discussion of the American/Greater Flamingo at Animal Diversity Web.  According to ADW, the entire colony spends months doing mating rituals before breeding begins. “Males and females are generally monogamous, remaining together during incubation and nurturing of the young. Mates will often remain together for many years, only choosing a new mate after the death of another.” When mating is complete, both of the parents “provide significant resources for their young”, including building their nest, providing incubation, and feeding a reddish “crop  milk”, which they both produce, to the chicks.
  • “And, of course, flamingos are pink–a color associated with hearts and flowers and Valentine’s Day.” Per good neighbor Beverly.

  An additional interesting fact that might help explain their domestic tranquility: “A few days before hatching, the chick will begin to produce vocalizations. Imprinting to the parents initially starts through this vocalization while still in the egg. Once newly hatched, a chick recognizes its parents and the parents recognize the chick.”  That’s right, their chicks actually come when they’re called.

Why Flamingos & Lawrence? I’m not at all sure about the connection between Lawrence and flamingos.  Perhaps, knowing that Lawrence was originally carved to be a cigar store Indian, the flamingos are trying to bring some Valentine romance into his Kaw-lija-like existence.  Like the shy and proud Kaw-Lija of the 1952 Hank Williams, Sr. song (lyrics), Lawrence stands there silent and “never got a kiss,” because he never let the lovely Indian maiden know his feelings.  [Click for a YouTube clip of  “Kaw-Lija”, performed by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Jr., at the Grand Olde Opry.]  It may be too late for Lawrence to let his honey know he cares, but what’s stopping you? Or, me?  The flamingos are a yearly reminder to show your feelings — even if it means going a long way out of your way.
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below: flamingo finale – a quick hug and huddle before heading back to warmer climes

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The Slideshow photos can be found in the Gallery below.  Click on a photo for a larger version.


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