It Makes One Think

Reminder:  You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full-screen image.

I was looking at this image of a male Cinnamon Teal that I made the other day when something occurred to me.  Birds, perhaps as much as or more than other life forms, are acutely sensitive to color.

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Some birds have far better perception of color that we humans have.  They can see in a broader spectrum of colors than we do and they can pick out subtle differences in color that escape us completely.  Color is critically important for many birds as camouflage and for many others it plays a major role in their breeding cycles.  Birds like this Cinnamon Teal attract their mates with their brilliant color displays.  Those of us who photograph birds know not to wear red while out in the field.  Many species of birds are acutely sensitive to that color and will flee from anyone wearing a red shirt.

Something else occurred to me.  It’s now generally accepted that birds are descended from dinosaurs.  In fact, some paleontologists speculate that birds aren’t just descended from dinosaurs but that they are dinosaurs.  We are now discovering fossils of dinosaurs that were at least partially covered with feathers.  Why wouldn’t color have played just as important a role for modern birds’ dinosaur ancestors as it plays for these birds?

And, that led me to a final thought.  Why wouldn’t the dinosaurs whose fossil remains we see in museums have been just as brilliantly colored as are modern birds?  Can you imagine that — a Tyrannosaur, for example, covered in feathers and as brilliant in appearance as is this duck?   Now, that would have been something to behold!

Photo taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, aperture preferred setting, f8 @ 1/400.

One response to “It Makes One Think”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    The cinnamon color of the Teal against the blue background of the water is beautiful.

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