THE FLORIDA FLAMINGO
"On skies of tropic evening, broad and beryl-green,
Above a tranquil sea of molten malachite,
With flare of scarlet wings, in long and level flight,
The soundless, fleet flamingo pass to isles unseen.
G. A. Smith in Asia Magazine, Nov. 1919.
Nearly a century ago, a young man and his wife stood staring in
amazement across the Manatee River. Along the far shore lay a mass of
vivid color-pink, crimson, salmon. At first the couple thought they
were looking at a natural garden of lilies but, doubting that lilies could
bloom in such profusion, they boarded their small sailboat to investigate.
As they approached the opposite bank, the "garden" suddenly
rose and became a wheeling cloud of pink and crimson. The couple
gazed spellbound until the last bit of color faded into distance. It was
the first time they had seen flamingos in flight. The brilliant effect of
massed flamingos on the wing, however, is not a thing of the past in
Florida, for these picturesque birds, in the wild state, have disappeared.
The odd-looking, small-bodied bird with its long neck and stilt-
like logs is known scientifically as Phoenicopterus ruber. One of its
peculiar features is the broad, vari-colored beak, about five inches long
and curved downward about midway its length. From