Monday, March 26, 2012

Feather of a Birds.....

Frost filigrees a quaking aspen leaf in late October.

Flamingos gather to perform a courtship display on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Flamingos, fiercely loyal in wild flocks, move in unison when there is a threat. Here, near Sisal, Mexico, a research plane is passing overhead. Several major breeding groups live in estuaries around the Caribbean and beyond.

Pigments in brine shrimp, abundant in the Yucatán where these flamingos were photographed, lend the birds’ feathers their coral hue.

Prospective parents use their beaks to scrape together a nest mound for their egg. When it hatches, the proud pink parents feed their chick crop milk, an elixir rich in fat and protein that both parents produce in their digestive tracts and regurgitate.

When chicks are a few weeks old, parents leave them in a crèche and go in search of food, taking turns returning day and night to feed them. Though watched by a few adults, babies are vulnerable to predators such as dogs and jaguars.

Roused before dawn and herded into an enclosure to be banded, young flamingos huddle in Mexico’s Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. Flocks may move hundreds of miles together in search of food.

A Caribbean flamingo runs to take off from the shallow backwaters of Ría Lagartos. The birds are adept aviators, whether flying alone or in flocks.

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