Lions and tigers and ’Hawks, oh my!

Posted on Aug 25, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Jayhawk on Parade at Hilltop Child Development Center
Fun fact: the Wizard of Oz movie was released in theaters nationwide 76 years ago today on August 25, 1939. Although it was only a modest success at the box office when it was initially released, the movie had staying power and its popularity continued to grow—much to the chagrin of native and adopted Kansans alike, who grow weary of the constant refrain of jokes.

“Toto, you’re not in Kansas anymore!”

“Click your heels together.”

“Where are your ruby slippers?”

Although the movie’s classic lines have often frayed the nerves of countless Jayhawks everywhere—especially when used as fodder on signs created by fans of whatever team the Jayhawks happen to be playing—the joy this bird has brought to hundreds of children and their families is worth it.

This Wizard of Oz-themed Jayhawk, named “Lions and Tigers and Hawks, Oh My!” and perched at Hilltop Child Development Center on the KU campus, was part of Jayhawks on Parade, a 2003 collaboration between the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Lawrence, Inc., the University of Kansas and the Alumni Association. Thirty fiberglass birds, each attached to an 800-pound concrete base, were transformed by 35 artists into creative renderings of the Jayhawk.

Hilltop’s bird, created by Doug Barth and Amanda Warren and sponsored by KU Endowment, combines the characters from the movie and sports the Tin Man’s funnel hat, the Cowardly Lion’s mane, the straw fringe of the Scarecrow and Dorothy’s ruby red slippers. The famous yellow brick road is depicted on the Jayhawk’s beak, and a heart-shaped locket is chained to its chest.

Twelve years later the birds have flown their original nests, but many can still be found around Lawrence. I think we all agree: there’s no place like home.

—Debbi Johanning

Plaque on the Hilltop Jayhawk on Parade

See a photo gallery of the entire flock on the Lawrence Journal-World’s website

Where are they now? An article from 2008 lists the bird’s known locations at the time.

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