Flamingo Flocking fundraisers raise money for LAHS bands


courtesy Karine Manoukian

Flamingo Flocking is a time-honored tradition at Los Altos High School. The donor can surprise their friends or family with a flock of pink flamingos and a note.

Plastic pink flamingos certainly turn heads, especially when they’re spread out all over a front yard. Flamingo Flocking is a Los Altos High School music department tradition. Introduced by former band booster club president Julie Watson, this unique and effective fundraising method has brought in lots of money for the LAHS bands. 

Usually, a school that fundraises through Flamingo Flocking would place the flamingos in the chosen person’s yard, forcing homeowners to pay for them to be removed. Watson’s take on the fundraiser is more benign, allowing people to sponsor a night of flamingos at their house or their friend’s house.

In order to flock to someone’s house, an individual must donate through the music boosters website. They submit a form asking for the address, date, payment and other details, then sit back and watch as their chosen person’s house gets overwhelmed with pink flamingos. 

On the night of the flocking, the team loads up big bins of flamingos and heads over to the person’s house. The team is careful to remain unnoticed while placing the flamingos artistically around their victim’s yard. 

Senior Luka Wuthrich, a member of wind ensemble, has participated in flocking houses several times. 

It’s a really fun thing to do. You get to be really sneaky, and it’s a ridiculous thing to just plant flamingos in someone’s yard. You have to be as quiet as possible and it’s suspenseful.

— senior Luka Wuthrich

“It’s a really fun thing to do,” Luka said. “You get to be really sneaky, and it’s a ridiculous thing to just plant flamingos in someone’s yard. You have to be as quiet as possible and it’s suspenseful.” 

This fundraising method comes with its difficulties. Several challenges arise when going to install the actual flamingos, especially hiding from well-intentioned neighbors.

“It’s tricky because you don’t want neighbors to think you’re breaking into someone’s house,” LAHS Music Booster Club member Karine Manoukian said. “We’ve had times where we’ve had to lay low or crouch down.” 

“Once, someone came home, and I had to dive over some bushes to stay hidden,” Luka said. “It was really funny.” 

A day later, the flamingos leave just as furtively as they arrived, cleaned up by another team of band students.

The funds raised by Flamingo Flocking go towards buying music, repairing equipment, purchasing new instruments, funding music clinicians and support staff as well as providing student scholarships. 

“It is a really effective way of fundraising,” Manoukian said.

Flamingo Flocking fundraisers saw their peak during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many were scared to leave their homes. Flamingo Flocking was the perfect solution because it was easy and safe for everyone. 

Recently, the band has turned to more conventional methods of fundraising, such as silent auctions and donations. Nevertheless, Flamingo Flocking is an honored tradition that will persist. 

“We’ve done a lot of things since COVID-19 so things are starting new, but this is one of the carryovers,” Manoukian said.

Fundraising through Flamingo Flocking, allows the people who donate to share an amusing experience with their friends or family and bring in donations for the LAHS bands.

“We’ve had just pure delight,” Manoukian said. “It’s such a surprise to walk out of your house or apartment and to see all these flamingos everywhere. It’s always met with great happiness.”

Anyone who’s interested in flocking someone’s house can visit this website.