The magnificent flamingo is a favorite bird known for its stilt-like legs and brilliant color. Here in Florida it's practically an icon. This is strange as it was declared native to Florida only a few years ago. Up until then when seen in the wild, flamingos were thought to be escapees from attractions. Now they are sighted even in our area of Charlotte Harbor. They wade and feed in shallow water using their upper beaks like shovels to scrape shrimp, crabs, snails, algae, etc. from the bottom. Yes, they twist their heads upside down to do this! The lower beaks serve as strainers and the tongues "pump" the sand and debris out of their mouths. Their nests look like mini-volcanos built of mud and are where the females lay one egg in a shallow hole at the tops of the mounds. These big birds are able to "run" on water, thanks to their webbed feet, to gain speed before lifting into the air where their wingspan is about five feet.
I'm especially fond of this pretty bird since our son and daughter in law, both avid sailors, were married by the captain onboard a beautiful 42' blue-hulled Ketch named FLAMING JOE. The boat's emblem? - you guessed it - a flamingo! A perfect setting for a most romantic wedding and mini-reception! The flamingo appeared again in decorations at a larger reception held later.
This painting was completed barely in time for entry into the juried WILD ABOUT WILDLIFE show presented by The Cape Coral Art League and judged by Sandra Mark. What a thrill it was when FLAMING JOE took the first place ribbon at Thursday evening's reception and GAME ON won People's Choice (2nd time)! A grand night of celebration for me! The show is wild and colorful and may be seen until March 4 at the Cape Coral Art League, 516 Cultural Park Boulevard, Cape Coral 33990, Phone: (239) 772-5657.