Seeds are carried with more facility when provided with plumes or wings.
The colouring of the steppe changes as if by magic, and only the silvery plumes of the steppe-grass (Stipa pennata) wave in the wind, tinting the steppe a bright yellow.
The cock has a fine yellow bill and a head bearing a rounded crest of filamentous feathers; lanceolate scapulars overhang the wings, and from the rump spring the long flowing plumes which are so characteristic of the species, and were so highly prized by the natives before the Spanish conquest that no one was allowed to kill the bird when taken, but only to divest it of its feathers, which were to be worn by the chiefs alone.
These plumes, the middle and longest of which may measure from 3 ft.
Most curious of all is the courtship of the males of some species of Salticidae, or jumping spiders, which are decorated with plumes or coloured stripes or iridescent patches.
BIRDS OF PARADISE, a group of passerine birds inhabiting New Guinea and the adjacent islands, so named by the Dutch voyagers in allusion to the brilliancy of their plumage, and to the current belief that, possessing neither wings nor feet, they passed their lives in the air, sustained on their ample plumes, resting only at long intervals suspended from the branches of lofty trees by the wire-like feathers of the tail, and drawing their food "from the dews of heaven and the nectar of flowers."
From under the shoulders on each side springs a dense tuft of goldenorange plumes, about 2 ft.
This splendid plumage, however, belongs only to the adult males, the females being exceedingly plain birds of a nearly uniform dusky brown colour, and possessing neither plumes nor lengthened tail feathers.
At that season the males assemble, in numbers varying from twelve to twenty, on certain trees, and there disport themselves, so as to display their magnificent plumes in presence of the females.
Ii., thus describes the attitude of the male birds at one of those "sacaleli," or dancing parties, as the natives call them; "their wings," he says, "are raised vertically over the back, the head is bent down and stretched out, and the long plumes are raised up and expanded till they form two magnificent golden fans striped with deep red at the base, and fading off into the pale brown tint of the finely-divided and softly-waving points; the whole bird is then overshadowed by them, the crouching body, yellow head, and emerald green throat, forming but the foundation and setting to the golden glory which waves above."
Its plumes are those most generally used as ornaments for ladies' head-dresses.
Of the long-billed paradise birds the most remarkable is that known as the "twelve-wired" (Seleucides alba), its delicate yellow plumes, twelve of which are transformed into wire-like bristles.
The blue-bird with his azure plumes, the thrush clad all in brown, the robin jerking his spasmodic throat, the oriole drifting like a flake of fire, the jolly bobolink and his happy mate, the mocking-bird imitating the notes of all, the red-bird with his one sweet trill, and the busy little wren, are all making the trees in our front yard ring with their glad song.
A great proportion of architectural ornaments are literally hollow, and a September gale would strip them off, like borrowed plumes, without injury to the substantials.
Perhaps I shall hear a solitary loon laugh as he dives and plumes himself, or shall see a lonely fisher in his boat, like a floating leaf, beholding his form reflected in the waves, where lately a hundred men securely labored.
The wild goose is more of a cosmopolite than we; he breaks his fast in Canada, takes a luncheon in the Ohio, and plumes himself for the night in a southern bayou.
Farther and farther he rode away, stopping at other regiments, till at last only his white plumes were visible to Rostov from amid the suites that surrounded the Emperors.
He knew no one, and despite his smart Guardsman's uniform, all these exalted personages passing in the streets in their elegant carriages with their plumes, ribbons, and medals, both courtiers and military men, seemed so immeasurably above him, an insignificant officer of the Guards, that they not only did not wish to, but simply could not, be aware of his existence.
All began to run and bustle, and Rostov saw coming up the road behind him several riders with white plumes in their hats.
An Austrian officer in a white uniform with green plumes in his hat galloped up to Kutuzov and asked in the Emperor's name had the fourth column advanced into action.
One in a black uniform with white plumes in his hat rode a bobtailed chestnut horse, the other who was in a white uniform rode a black one.
Turning the horse sharply, he again jumped the ditch, and deferentially addressed the horseman with the white plumes, evidently suggesting that he should do the same.
Don't you see the plumes?... was whispered among the crowd.
In front of the group, on a black horse with trappings that glittered in the sun, rode a tall man with plumes in his hat and black hair curling down to his shoulders.
This man rode toward Balashev at a gallop, his plumes flowing and his gems and gold lace glittering in the bright June sunshine.
Balashev was only two horses' length from the equestrian with the bracelets, plumes, necklaces, and gold embroidery, who was galloping toward him with a theatrically solemn countenance, when Julner, the French colonel, whispered respectfully: "The King of Naples!"
A man in a general's uniform with plumes in his hat went up to Kutuzov and said something in French.