Monday, January 14, 2008

Anna's iridescence

I'm enjoying watching the variation of color that flashes from the gorget of this male Anna's Hummingbird at my feeder, especially when I stop to consider that the color is not from pigment in the feathers, but from iridescence. According to the Audubon Encyclopedia of North American Birds, iridescence is, "the rainbow-like play of interference colors...caused by the scattering of light rays from the special structure of 'iridescent feathers.'" So, what color are those feathers, really?


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