Beautiful Great Blue Heron Magic Trick?

Great blue heron feathers - B+W - babsjeheron © 2013 Babsje. (Http://

Great Blue Heron feathers – B+W – babsjeheron

Look, you might as well know, this thing
is going to take endless repair: rubber bands,
crazy glue, tapioca, the square of the hypotenuse.
Nineteenth century novels. Heartstrings, sunrise:
all of these are useful. Also, feathers.

Barbara Kingsolver
“Hope, An Owner’s Manual”

There’s an exquisite intricacy to feathers, the sublime structures of individual feathers, as well as the interconnectedness of groups of feathers working together in harmony to make flight possible.

Individually, so soft.

Collectively, so strong.

What is soft is strong, as Lao-Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching.

While the magnificent wingspan of the Great Blue Heron is spectacular, the beauty of Heron feathers isn’t limited to the powerful wings. In an earlier post, I shared photos of other less prominent but still stunning feathers, some arranged in intricate patterns. (Please click here to catch up if you missed those earlier photos.)

The feather shown at the top is the same feather as that shown at bottom. Both photos were taken on the same day, with the same camera and lens, within minutes of each other. Only the background colors have been changed. Years ago, before I knew it was not allowed, I gathered those Great Blue Heron aigrette feathers, which I treasure. You can see one of them in my blog’s masthead art.

Is an optical illusion magic? Yes, in fact, many magic tricks employ optical illusions. Some fascinating examples of ‘color illusions’ such as this can be found at Brain Den. Enjoy!

I think we need all the magic we can get. How about you?


Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Ann-Christine is “One Image One Story.”


Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Matching Things.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: Leaving snowy Luton for warmer climes. The title is the requisite six words long.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story.


Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District


The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!


My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
Natick Town Hall
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Posted on December 4, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, B&W, Birds, Feathers, Heron, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Sometimes I see grace and beauty, other times an old reptile. Sometimes it’s a fellow traveler to admire, other times I think of hunting them. They still fascinate me though.

    • Hi Chris. Thanks for your thought-provoking observations. I’m glad you appreciate them in all of those various moods! Best, Babsje

      • I know the comment is a little deeper, but I suspect we all have similar thoughts from time to time. Mostly, it’s a sense of awe and respect that keeps me coming back, though.
        Thanks for the awesome photos too.

        • Hi Chris. Thanks so much for saying that. The stereotypical Great Blue Heron photo is of one standing serenely at the water’s edge with a background of reeds. I do like those photos but I also like capturing them in wildly different postures and moods, too. Thanks for your kind words about the photos. Best, Babsje

  2. Soft, beautiful, and strong! Beautiful feather images.

  3. That feather has taken millions of years to evolve. The design is a mystery, the effect is awe inspiring!

    • Hi Wayne. Thanks for your great observations. I like how you said this. Millions of years to evolve and a mystery. I also like that the immatures don’t seem to have these feathers and that the aged Herons can have them in abundance. They are like the Silver Backs of the ardea worlds. Best, Babsje

  4. These are beautiful feathers! Well, feather. Beautiful photographs, I should say! I didn’t know you are not allowed to collect the feathers. Why? Were people harming the birds somehow to get them?

  5. While picking up a loose feather off the ground wouldn’t be a problem, possession is. The possession of any eagle feather carries a five year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine, and they don’t care how you came into having the feather.

    • Hi David. Thanks! Picking up loose feathers and taking them to keep is prohibited. People are allowed to have Eagle feathers under certain circumstances – Native Americans or Indigenous Peoples and individuals with specific state or Federal permits. Usually those are breeders or rehabilitators.

  6. So beautiful – indeed they are wonders, aren’t they…and we do need all the magic we can get.

  7. oh what gorgeous feathers. Nicely done 😀 😀

    • Hi Cee. I’m so pleased that you like the matching feathers. Thanks for hosting your wonderful CBWC challenge and for your kind comment. Best, Babsje

  8. All three feather shots are beautiful, Babsje.

  9. Dear Babsje,
    your photographs of the feather are GREAT, simple and elegant.
    Thanks for sharing 🙏 🙏
    With lots f love from the wild sea
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    We didn’t know that it Is not allowed to collect these feathers.

  10. Ah, beautiful feathers, my dear Babsje and oh yes, what is soft is strong! 😉
    Happy Sunday! xo

  11. What beautiful and delicate feathers, Babsje. Lovely images.

  12. The feathers — and the creative photography — are delightful, but no less delightful is the quotation at the top. I lgrinned as I read through it. It reminded me of my dad’s perfectly serious proclamation to me when I still was in grade school that “bubble gum, a bobby pin, and tape” could fix anything in the world. He never mentioned feathers, but I’ll bet he would have if he’d just thought about it a little longer.

    • Many thanks for your lovely comments. I love your story about your father’s quote about bubble gum, a bobby pin and tape! Thanks for sharing it here. He’s definitely a kindred spirit to Barbara Kingsolver. And I’m pleased that you like the Heron photos. Best, Babsje

  13. Feathers are one of wonders of Nature. So much function and beauty packed into tiny fractions of an ounce.

  14. Wow! I love both images. It’s surprising how much difference the background colour makes. Thank you for sharing your beautiful feather.

  15. Wonderful feather yin yang photo!

    • Hi Rebecca. So glad you noticed the yin/yang! I tried to crop the photo to better reflect that aspect, in both circle and oval presentations, but rectangular won out. Many thanks for your great observation. Best, Babsje

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