December 8, 2014

Magnificent Birds

Today's blog is all about peacocks - or rather, peafowl. A couple of months ago we added four baby peachicks to our Bedford farm community, given to me by my friend Ilene. Some of the photos I'm sharing with you are ones that Ilene took of the babies as they were being born and just after - plus a few shots of her adult birds. The rest we took - they show the birds as they have been growing and maturing in recent weeks. A bit of background: most people call them all peacocks, but that's the correct name only for the males of the species. Females are called peahens, and as a whole they are called peafowl. The males are the showy ones - they use their bright feather trains to attract mates. The females are picky, and prefer to mate with those that have the largest and most attractive feather trains. They have a subdued coloring that camouflages them against predators while they are incubating their eggs. One of the most fascinating aspects of the male peacock are those blue eyespots - also known as ocelli - that cascade down their trains. Throughout history, many people have attached spiritual meaning to them. Some have thought they represented an all-seeing god. Others gave them magical powers. I myself find them beautiful and mesmerizing, one of the stranger delights of nature.