Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/39

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35
CONCEALING COLORATION

one in a zoo, with horizontal sunlight bathing it, they will see that it looks wonderfully like a pink cloud (which is, strange to say, just what Roosevelt remarks about a flying flock of the African species), and all discussion as to whether this is so or not will be at an end. In connection with a long chain of similar phenomena, hitherto unknown, is this fact worthy only of derision? If inhabitants of the world's floor prove to see the more aerial species against the sky, the flamingo's aquatic enemies, dwelling below this floor, see denizens of the upper air always against the sky. The flamingo question, then, has come down to why he is colored for dawn and sunset sky more or less at the expense of his all-day matching. The answer would seem to be connected with his nocturnal habits. According to Audubon the red flamingo is nocturnal (as, apparently, all the other red and rosy waders are); and in that case his feeding wouldn't extend further into daytime than merely, at both ends of the night, to overlap into the rose and salmon light of dawn and evening. His feeding is especially unfavorable to. his keeping watch against enemies, since he buries his face in the mud and muddy water in his search for the worms and other animals he lives on; and we find his coloration fitting this emergency.

This matter of sky-matching has come very clear in my demonstration with the oryx head, reproduced herein, which shows the inevitable effect of all the other branch- and sky-patterns, such as abound on birds, beasts and butterflies that are looked up at. I have been studying for years to find out the exact scene that each costume best represents; and I now beg my readers to come to Monadnock and let me show them the results.