The Nature of Things
4:45 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Bluebirds Aren’t Blue?

Small, round thrushes, eastern bluebirds are a symbol of happiness and cheer really are a delight to see; but are bluebirds really blue?

  For decades, scientists have known how birds with yellow or red feathers usually get their color: from pigments in foods they eat.  But it was a real challenge to figure out exactly how birds with blue tints get their color.  It wasn’t their diet, because blue pigments, like those in blueberries, are destroyed when birds digest them.

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