by Crystal Cockman
On a trip to Washington, DC a few years ago, there was an area of the museum featuring the winners of a photography contest – Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards. There were many fantastic pictures including a polar bear shaking water off his fur, an osprey emerging from a lake, a gorilla looking down at a small duckling, a phosphorescent sea angel also known as a sea slug, a hummingbird at a stand-off with a small green snake, and many more. However the one that caught my eye was a flock of flamingos flying over snow-covered mountains with a menacing storm cloud behind them. The title was “Horns of Paine Mountains and Chilean Flamingos,” by Ben Hall, Hazel Grove, Cheshire, England, UK. Their bright color almost seemed unreal against that natural landscape, and it was breathtaking.
The word flamingo comes from Portuguese or Spanish flamengo, meaning, “flame-colored.” They don’t always have their bright pink feathers though. Baby flamingos are born with gray feathers. It’s their diet, primarily consisting of aquatic organisms – such as shrimp and algae – which are high in pigments called carotenoids, that gives them their reddish-pink hue. [Read more…]