Saturday, January 17, 2015

Angry Bird: Anna's Hummingbird at San Diego Botanic Garden

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird. Encinitas, California. December 29, 2014. Greg Gillson.
Four inches from the tip of that sharp pointed bill to the end of the stubby tail--four tiny inches of pure raging fury!

O pity that poor little Ruby-crowned Kinglet who accidentally ventured into the territory of this possessive tyrant!

Marlene and I used a day off from work to visit the local San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. This pugnacious little guy was on the upper overlook trail.

Anna's Hummingbird
Master of all he surveys.
Showing his true colors
The shiny, iridescent colors on the throat of hummingbirds, heads of some ducks, etc. are caused not by pigments, but primarily by feather structure causing light refraction. Refraction also gives color to all blue-colored birds feathers, even those without iridescence. If you find a feather from a jay, you will notice it turns from blue to dark gray at certain angles. The iridescent color on the back of the hummingbird above is caused by the combination of yellow pigments and blue refraction. And as you can see, the true color of the throat of the breeding male hummingbird is black.

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