It's been 40 years since University of Wisconsin–Madison students woke up to find exactly 1,008 pink flamingos covering Bascom Hill. They had been "planted" there by the legendary campus pranksters the Pail & Shovel Party.
State Journal photographer L. Roger Turner was there to capture an iconic photo that graced the front page the on Sept. 5th with the headline "Fugitive flamingos." The photo caption read as follows:
"Pink flamingos — 1,008 of them — appeared mysteriously on Bascom Hill Tuesday morning, the first day of fall classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Joan O’Donnell, a junior from Madison, took a moment to get a closer look at the birds. Leon Varjian, Wisconsin Student Association vice president, claimed the birds had been driven north by Hurricane David. Varjian said he knew there were 1,008 flamingos because WSA bird spotters banded each one. Flamingos are noisy birds, he said, but those who came to the campus were very quiet. In fact, he said, if you got close to one, the only thing you could hear was a faint panting sound. When pressed further, Varjian admitted that the birds were plastic lawn ornaments purchased by WSA for $1 each. The birds disappeared by mid-afternoon. Last winter WSA spent $4,000 on a papier-mache replica of part of the Statue of Liberty, built on the Ice of Lake Mendota."
To mark the occasion we're offering a handsome black and white reprint of the front page, as well as an alternate photo from our archives, in a number of shapes, sizes, formats and prices.
Order a print of the full front page HERE
Order a print of the alternate photo HERE
The Wisconsin State Historical Society has a color version that you can order prints of HERE