Heartbeat: Colorfully Quilled Peacock In Saint-Tropez
by Ian Skellern
Putting a few “quills” in Quill & Pad.
I had the good fortune to be invited to Saint-Tropez in the south of France recently, and this vibrantly colored show-off was resident at the hotel.
Peacocks, or more correctly peafowl (males are peacocks, females are peahens and the young are peachicks), are members of the pheasant family. Though they don’t tend to advertise the fact.
The iridescent colors are not actually pigment colors at all, but reflections of the structure of the feathers, which have patterned nano-fiber components. Slight changes in the spacing of the nano-fibers produce different colors much in the same way as iridescent colors reflect off a film of dark oil, or a butterfly’s wing.
But who cares about those technicalities when faced with incredible beauty like this?
More on the reason for my encounter with this overgrown chicken coming soon, but suffice it to say for now that it involves horses, a world champion polo player and a helicopter.
Oh, and there was a watch or two involved as well.
P.S.: Wikipedia tells me that the word iridescence is derived in part from the Greek word îris, meaning rainbow, combined with the Latin suffix -escent, meaning having a tendency toward. A fact I found quite pleasing.