Hearts Afire Flamingo Style

Birds do it, too. Especially this time of year. Valentine's Day marks the time of the year when American flamingos begin their elaborate courtship displays. The National Zoo's photographer, Mehgan Murphy, caught this courting pair in a heart-felt display.

Zoo officials tells us that the whole flock participates—birds puff up their feathers, hold their heads high and slowly strut together. The flock becomes synchronized by these behaviors so that the birds breed and lay eggs at the same time, assuring future chicks will hatch when food supply is optimal.

(Photograph courtesy of Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)