Ruby-Throated Humming Bird on Blue Bead Lily


Hummingbirds are the most brightly coloured birds you will encounter in Algonquin Park. Like
many bird species their feathers are iridescent meaning that light bounces off them like it does
on a soap bubble, resulting in shifting hues that change as you look at them from different
angles. Attempting to capturing feather iridescence in a static work of art is a challenging, but
rewarding one for wildlife artists if done convincingly.
In reality the feathers of a ruby-throated hummingbird are dull and dark, but because they are
covered with bubble shaped structures called melanosomes that act like tiny prisms, light is
refracted in a variety of colours with a shimmering effect. As a result, we see these birds as
creatures ablaze with colour. And, as our angle of view changes, the colours seem to change,
too. The red throat feathers of the male may look orange, gold or even green depending on the
angle of the light.
Iridescence is not restricted to hummingbird feathers. Many wild things from butterflies to fish
scales to plant parts such as the berry on the blue-bead lily also exhibit this extraordinary
feature. So keep this in mind as you enjoy the natural world of Algonquin Park and see if you
can spot things that can be many colours at the same time.

Dimensions: 7.5" x 15.5"
Category: Artwork
Artist: Gregor Gillespie
Media Type: Wood