This was another personal photographic project with a biological inspiration.
|Unless they are pets, you need a powerful telephoto lens to photographs most birds. This, added to the fact that I never felt the fascination that bird watchers experience, explains why I have so fee photographs of them. In reciprocity, though, I worked with a team that documented why quetzals look green when they are brown. And here is a photo-sequence of a Great-tailed Grackle or Zanate (Quiscalus mexicanus) capturing a gecko at the beach.|
|Quetzals are not green|
|The feathers here show that quetzals look green to our eyes. Yet they are colored with melanin, the same pigment that makes our skin brown. Costa Rican photographer Marco Tulio Saborío asked morphologist Francisco Hernández why the color of the feathers changed with the light, he asked me and this led to our study with light and electron microscopes that produced these photographs. The size and distribution of the microscopic melanin spheres produces the shining and iridescent colors that make the quetzals famous.|
|Clay-colored Thrush or yigüirro|
The Clay-colored Thrush or yigüirro (Turdus grayi) is the Costa Rican national bird and, as befits a bird of drab plumage, sings beautifully. I recorded their early life in my garden of Santo Domingo de Heredia (Costa Rica) with an old digital Nikon camera. I photographed the chicks directly, but used a timer to capture the mother feeding them.
|Zanate bird captures gecko. Bahia Ballena. 2014. Costa Rica.|