Last week, I visited the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. I really enjoyed all of the birds and even got to feed grubs and fish to some. I loved tossing little fish into the pelicans’ gaping mouths! I thought I’d share a few pictures just for fun.
As I looked at the birds in the aviary, I couldn’t help but think, “Oh, eumelanin and phenomelanin, restrictors and enhancers.”
I remembered that blue is caused by light refracting small air pockets in a structure containing eumelanin.
I recalled how the pink of flamingos comes directly from the carotenoids in their food.
Carotenoids also make a bright yellow.
Greens are a combination of the eumelanin structure of blue and yellow carotenoids. Some reds are carotenoids, and others are created from amino acids into porphyrins.
I found that I enjoyed the aviary much more than I would have years ago. Simply because of my experiences with chickens, I felt a closer connection to the birds, more familiar with their rhythms. These birds, in turn, reminded me to appreciate the bird-ness of my chickens.