Issue 3-30-14 Website - page 11

When The Eagles Return To LeRoy
by Lynne Belluscio
My daughter sent me a photo on
Saturday of the eagle that has been
in the neighborhood. The picture
was taken over on Conlon Road
near Frost Ridge Campground. I
know that there have been eagles
in the area for the last couple of
years and whether this fellow will
stay around for a few months is
not certain.
I do know that I’m not letting
my chickens out, and I’m keeping
an eye on my cats for a while.
Then I got to wondering, if the
return of the eagles is the reason
why the flamingoes haven’t been
seen in a few years. Each year I
put out the flamingo decoys in
the front yard of LeRoy House,
hoping that it will attract the pink
feathered friends, but no one has
seen a flamingo in quite a while.
Just in case you don’t know about
the LeRoy flamingoes, here is
the story as it was printed in the
in the April 1, 1989.
“One of the most unusual stories
that has surfaced recently is that
in the good old days – when the
first settlers came to Bellona (that
was the name of LeRoy before the
LeRoys arrived) there was nesting
on Allen’s Creek (that was the
name of Oatka Creek realized
that it would be confused with
a similar place in Pittsford) of a
small flock of pink flamingoes.
They were often feeding on
shrimp above Buttermilk Falls
(that was before the dam was
in place and the rapids in town
were known as Buttermilk Falls.
It would be much later when the
Falls up north – or downstream –
would be called Buttermilk Falls.)
The birds would often roost in
the “Beeches” an area on the east
side of the creek. The birds would
winter in Florida and arrive in
LeRoy every spring on April 1st.
They would build their nests on
the tallest chimneys in town and it
was considered good luck to have
a flamingo on your roof.
A tavernkeeper on the west
bank of the creek, named his
establishment after the birds, but
when the village fathers decided
to hold their first village meeting
at the tavern, they insisted that
he change the name, and so it
became the Eagle Hotel – which
sounded a whole lot better than
the Flamingo Bar.
It is told that on a particularly
balmy evening, while Caroline
LeRoy and Daniel Webster were
strolling down to the creekside
to watch the flamingoes feed,
that Daniel was so overcome by
the beauty of the birds, that he
proposed to Caroline on the spot.
Later when asked what prompted
him to propose, he said that he
just felt “in the pink” which was
the origin of a familiar phrase still
used today.
In the 1860s, it was evident
that the birds were not as healthy
as they should be, and it was
determined that they suffered
from lice. A young boy, only
thirteen years old, by the name of
Orator Woodward, would invent
plaster-of-Paris eggs that could
be medicated and placed in the
flamingo nests that would kill the
lice. Orator went on to adapt the
eggs for the use with chickens,
and he would make a handsome
amount of money, even before
he bought the rights to the Jell-O
recipe. Few people know that the
first Jell-O molds were actually
the old molds that Orator used
to cast the plaster flamingo eggs.
Suddenly, one year, although
no one knows for sure which year,
the flamingoes disappeared. Some
people blamed it on all the fried
shrimp dinners, shrimp scampi,
and shrimp cocktails served in the
local restaurants that depleted the
birds’ source of food. Some said
that they flew to Cheektowaga.
Others said they flew to Cypress
Gardens. In any event, LeRoyans
were sad to see the birds go.
Hoping to attract flamingoes flying
over the Village, many people
bought decoys and placed them
in their yards. Through the years,
the decoys have never attracted
one single flamingo and today
there is not a person alive that
remembers the excitement on
April 1st, when the flamingoes
returned to LeRoy.”
I have been putting flamingo
decoys in the front yard of LeRoy
House since 1989. This will be
the 25th year and in all the years,
this year is the first that I wonder
if I’ll be able to get the sticks in
the ground because it is so frozen.
Some years it has been balmy.
Some years, they have gotten
pretty wet in April showers. Other
years, the birds have stood in the
snow, but the ground has always
thawed. Which brings me to
another fact about the LeRoy
flamingoes. You can always tell
if it’s a LeRoy flamingo because
they always stand on one foot,
and that’s because the water in the
creek is always so cold. I just was
uptown and this year, the creek
isn’t cold - - its still frozen!!!. Not
much hope for the return of the
pink flamingoes.
Photo by - Ameka Cooper.
Spring Antiques
& Treasures Sale
Saturday, April 12, 2014
10am - 4pm
at the Le Roy Country Club
7759 E Main Rd, Le Roy, NY 14482
Venders will offer a variety of
Antiques, Furniture, Florals, Jewelry,
Decorative & Holiday Items,Vintage Goods to Compliment Your Home & Garden
$3.00 Admission will benefit the Le Roy Historical Society & Jell-O Museum
Come to Shop...Stay for a Wonderful Lunch...
For Dealer Info, Please Call Jeanne at (585) 768-6310
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