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City designates plastic pink flamingo as official city bird

City designates plastic pink flamingo as official city bird

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Pink flamingos on Bascom Hill

UW-Madison student Joan O’Donnell snacks on Bascom Hill surrounded by 1,008 plastic flamingos Sept. 5, 1979.

It doesn't fly and it's certainly not native to Madison. Nevertheless, the Madison City Council on Tuesday voted 15-4 to make the plastic pink flamingo - of Bascom Hill prank fame, circa 1979 - the city's official bird.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, 6th District, who sponsored the resolution, said she was 22 on the day 30 years ago when 1,008 of the venerable lawn ornaments appeared on the hill on the first day of classes for UW-Madison students.

That "unique event that signifies something that makes us a very special place" is "captured in our imaginations forever," Rummel said.

Not everyone was as smitten with the bird, though.

Among those who voted against the designation was Thuy Pham-Remmele, 20th District, who said the city should be spending its time on more important matters; Judy Compton, 16th District, who said she could support a day or week to honor the bird, but couldn't back its official status; and 2nd District Ald. Bridget Maniaci, whose Near East Side district includes lots of college students.

- Chris Rickert

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