Got the Blues? – Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Hidden

Great Blue Heron camouflaged in pickerel weed.

Great Blue Heron camouflaged in pickerel weed.

It is said that there are no truly blue feathers appearing in nature.

Have a look at the masthead art at the top of this page of my blog. That is a photo I took of an aigrette feather from a great blue heron. There is nothing blue about it.

Now, have a look at the great blue heron photo against the rocks in this post: Camouflaged Heron. Again, there’s nothing blue about it.

Lastly, have a look at the photo in today’s post. Did you notice the heron hiding there? Do you see how blue the heron appears? The great blue heron in today’s photo is the same heron appearing camouflaged against the rocks (at the previous link).

There has been no photo editing magic done to any of these photos (apart from cropping, of couse). The colors are entirely as-is.

The secret that makes feathers appear blue to the human eye is the result of refraction. It is the play of light on the structure of the feather that allows our eyes to perceive blue.

Light and great blue herons are wonderful that way.

Thanks for the Hidden theme nudge Ailsa and WordPress.

(This took place August 22, 2008)

© 2013 Babsje. (

Posted on September 12, 2013, in ardea herodias, Birds, daily prompt, Fine art, Great Blue Heron, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Travel Theme Challenge, Weekly Travel Themes, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. That’s very interesting, Babsje. That heron is very well camouflaged indeed. I wish your photo was bigger.

  2. Interesting text, but I can’t find a heron in that small shot.

  3. I still find it hard to accept the ‘no blue’… I nearly called it theory, though I suppose it’s fact. Time to check out a peacock’s feather and test this empirically… RH

    • I find it hard to believe, myself, but from what I’ve read it appears to be true. My own skepticism centered around vibrantly-blue blue jay feathers. IIRC, someone proposed to crush one to see what the constituent colors turned out to be, and no blue bits. Please let me know what you find out with a peacock feather!

  4. Great post, Babs. I agree about the blue being the result of refraction, and the way the human eye perceives colors.

    • Thanks, Bos, I’m glad you liked it and agree about refraction. Its a pretty cool trick of nature to allow for such effective camouflage depending on the available light.

  1. Pingback: Great Blue Herons Celebrate Arts in the Community – Natick Artists Open Studios | Babsje Heron

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