Of the 363 species of hummingbirds in the world, more than 50 are named after gemstones. The sparkling qualities of hummingbirds and gemstones are created by the degree to which they bend the path of light. Diamonds curve and refract light as it enters and bounces around the gem’s interior. The red gorget of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird gets its shininess from the interplay of light and intricate nanoscopic structures inside the feathers. By bending light in extreme ways, many hummingbirds literally look like flying jewels—hence the references to sapphire, emerald, and other gemstones in their common names.
Fill out your information in the form to download a gorgeously illustrated visual exploration of gem-named hummingbirds and the science of their feathers. This double-sided poster measures 16.25" by 21.75". Feel free to print at home or take to a professional printer for personal use.
Supplement to Living Bird Magazine, Summer 2023.
Illustration, design, and concept by Jillian Ditner.
Sources: Bird Academy Course Development Team for The Wonderful World of Hummingbirds—Marla Coppolino, Laura Helft, Jill Leichter, Kevin McGowan, Shayna Muller. Optical Physics Consultant: Adriaan M. Dokter, Research Associate, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
POSTER SPONSORED BY PENNINGTON.