Bickford Senior Living “flocks” U of I football coaches with plastic flamingos

Local News

It’s not a zoo…

It’s not yard art…

But if you pay attention, you might experience a few flamingo sightings across Champaign-Urbana.

These pink birds could appear in your neighbor’s yard or even yours thanks to the “flock squad” at Bickford of Champaign.

“Our flock squad [is what] we’ve named…our employees who are going out and helping those with the flock and moving it around from here to there,” said Bickford Community Relations Director, Jennifer Gussman.

Gussman spends her mornings moving 30 plastic flamingos to a new yard each day along with a sign to let homeowners know they’ve been “flocked.”

“Flocking, we began as an idea to bring some happiness during this pandemic,” says Gussman.

But this bird inspired prank is about more than a few laughs.
Of the 30 flamingos– you’ll notice two are purple.

“We are very active with the Alzhimer’s Association and…we thought this would be a great way to do some fundraising.”

To get rid of the flamingos, homeowners must “flock it forward” by making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association and then nominating unsuspecting friends and family.

When Bickford Senior Living flocked University of Illinois Football offensive coordinator, Rod Smith, he flocked it forward to tight ends coach, Cory Patterson.

Tuesday, the Patterson family busted the flock squad and ciLiving Storyteller Erin Valle in the middle of setting up the yard.

The coach and his wife and daughter laughed about the incident, revealing that they have a few ideas of who to flock it forward to next.

“I’ve got a couple ideas,” says Coach Patterson. “I’m gonna make a few donations so I can do more than one person!”

And it’s all to help Bickford Senior Living reach their fundraising goal of two thousand dollars.

“We’re about 30% of the way there so we still have some flocking to do,” says Gussman. “The idea is to keep it going and keep it moving around Champaign-Urbana and bring some smiles to people’s faces.”

Want to flock someone? Contact Jennifer Gussman at

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