Animals with the Blues

Looking at pictures and spending time in nature, you are likely to see various creatures displaying many colors. Even the dull creatures such as the house sparrow have various shades of brown and white. Many times, we see colors that are not actually present. Wait, what?

It could be said that some colors we see are a trick of the light. A prism effect reveals some colors, but they change based on the angle of the observer. We can only guess why the Creator held back on blue, but sometimes when it is present, it is startling.

Some creatures display colors because they have the necessary pigment. Fewer animals have blue pigment, and sometimes seeing blue is from refraction, such as in blue jays.
Blue jay with spread wings, Unsplash / Phil Robson
Two of my late wife's favorite birds were the northern cardinal and the blue jay. She and I both liked the bright red of the cardinal, and admired the patterns on the blue jays. Like many critters, cardinals exhibit their colors because they have the necessary pigment. Blue jays are not blue. That is, they have no blue pigment (which does exist elsewhere in the animal kingdom), but have that refraction thing going. What follows is some light reading, a brief survey of some animals with the blues.

While some flowers and foods are blue, such as bluebonnets and blueberries, blue is rare among animals. Most animals are unable to make blue pigments (with a few eyecatching exceptions). Often the blue color comes from specially designed features that bend the sun’s light—like a prism—to bring out the blue.

These animals’ ability to take advantage of the laws of physics and chemistry showcases the genius of their Creator, who gave his world a blue backdrop and then added splashes of color to liven up the panorama.

You can read the entire article or listen to the audio by my favorite reader by heading on over to "Out of the Blue — Animal Color." My wife took this video of blue jays grabbing the peanuts she gave them: