Monday, May 26, 2014
I have long been enamoured with the iridescent plumes of peacocks. I recall the first time I saw one up close was at Warwick Castle. It was stunning.
Recently we have been offered a breeding pair by someone who read about Willowbrook in the NZ Lifestyle block magazine, so we thought we would give them a go. We have been warned by some people that they are noisy, and sometimes ill-behaved, but like the goats, we are prepared to try most things once.
Peafowl are from the same family as Pheasants. Their colours are created not only by pigmentation of the feathers, but by refraction of light through nano-structures on the feathers. White peacocks lack pigmentation, but are not albinos, as they have blue eyes still.
I have been chased by ferocious white peacocks before, during a visit to Kawau Island. They are not always wild though, and came be tamed, esp when raised from birth.
The chicks start life very plain, and then the covert feathers and combs start to develop, and they slowly become more colourful.
The peacock has many symbolic meanings in different cultures. To the Greeks the peacock symbolized immortality, to many cultures the eye on the tail feathers represents the all seeing eye of God.
In some cultures the peacock is seen as a symbol of vanity, due to the way it 'struts its stuff', hence the phrase, proud as a peacock.
It has also been associated with wealth and with royalty. In the middle ages, like pheasants, peacocks were served in elaborate pies, using their heads and tail feathers as garnishes...
In Victorian and Edwardian times the feathers were used in interior design (although some consider them to bring bad luck). They inspired arts and craft and art deco artists as well.
So, bring on the Peacocks I say.
This post is dedicated to my iridescent friend Keralyn.
Photos from Tumblr