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A Trick of the Light . . .

Anna's Hummingbird on feeder

Anna's Hummingbirds sparkle with iridescence... with their emerald green back and hot pink throats — known as gorgets. But wait! Catch them in a certain light, and the sparkle goes away, or entirely new and vibrant colors appear. The microscopic structure of the feather barbules — not pigments — provides this amazing abundance of colors. Light is refracted by these complex structures and becomes visible as a shimmering array of colors changing with the angle of view.

Mike Hamilton photographed several male Anna's over more than a year. He caught them in all kinds of poses and all kinds of lights. Check out the series — Doesn't even look like the same species, does it?


Anna's maleAnna's male

Anna's male

Anna's male

Anna's male

Anna's maleAnna's male



Anna's male

Anna's maleAnna's male

Anna's male

Anna's male

Anna's maleAnna's male

Anna's male

Anna's male

Anna's maleAnna's male

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All photos © Mike Hamilton
Mike takes pictures every day of the year in the Pacific Northwest.

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