Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A Not So True Blue Jay
Rows of barbules, it turned out, which branch off from rows of barbs, which branch off the central rachis of the feather. It's the rows of barbules that can be pulled apart, then preened back together, their hooked ends interknitting to keep a bird in fine feather.
Lit from the front, a blue jay's feather shows blue--
The afternoon's research ended before we could find out if the difference in color between a blue jay and the closely related crow comes not from pigment but solely from the way light bounces off their feathers.