Flamingos really are beautiful birds. They are, in a word, flamboyant. And that is what a group of them are called. There are six species of flamingos in the world and they’re found all over the world. They’re one of the few animals on the planet that get their color from what they eat, beta-carotene in their diet. They aren’t born pink, but as grey puffballs on stilts with ordinary beaks, the top larger than the bottom. As they mature that top beak becomes less prominent and the lower one becomes quite a bit larger than the top and they begin to turn pink, a task which will take them the better part of two years.
Flamingos have long been a part of tradition in our family. Flamingos? Tradition? Yes, but in a rather unconventional way. In our early adulthood my sister and I both agreed that we hated those pink plastic lawn flamingos. Being the family with a slightly twisted sense of humor that we are, from that point on giving each other a pink flamingo of some sort for every occasion has become tradition. Flamingo pajamas, cross-stitch, Christmas ornaments, pens, necklaces; if it’s a flamingo we’ve probably purchased it for one another.