Conservation // 2 min Read

Why So Blue?

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Aug 10, 2020

Calm, graceful, reliable, wise, inspiring. While all of these words can be associated with someone in every person’s life, they are also associated with the color blue.

The 2020 Pantone color of the year, classic blue is a calming, familiar hue that instills comfort, confidence, and connection. And while it’s widely used in interior decorating – painting interior spaces blue is believed to stimulate the mind and increase productivity – this vibrant color isn’t as common in the natural world as you might think.

Sure, shades of blue can be found in a variety of natural features: the ocean, sky, gemstones, plants, and even a few animals. However, the majority of animals and plants that appear blue don’t actually contain the color. These organisms have developed some unique features that use the physics of light to create this beautiful color.

Today we’re focusing on birds that are adorned with blue and how their feathers are the reason for this almost optical illusion.

There are a variety of our feathered friends that have blue patterning. At Palmetto Bluff we see it in bluebirds, blue jays, buntings, swallows, and blue grosbeaks. Let us start with blue jays. When light hits their body, the structure of the feathers allows all color wavelengths to be absorbed except for blue, which is reflected back and gives them their blue appearance. However, if you were to hold a blue feather between you and a light source, the light transmits through the plume, and because it is not reflecting back to your eyes, it will look gray or brown.

Structural plumage is truly fascinating, but not every bird relies on it for flashy displays. The vibrant red of cardinals is based solely on pigment, whereas female painted buntings use a combination of blue feather structure and yellow pigment to create their lovely green coloration. Birds are one of the most vibrant groups of animals thanks to these two realms of color, and I encourage you to spend more time watching birds and consider what is influencing their vibrant plumage.

palmetto bluff builders

Architecture & Design / The Palmetto Bluff Builders Design Process

Behind the Design with Jason Kimes & Leighann Markalunas In the heart of the Lowcountry, where the gentle sway of Spanish moss-laden trees meets the tranquil embrace of the coast, lies a unique community: Palmetto Bluff. Their approach to home design capt...

Sep 2023

Food & Wine / Fall Recipes From Buffalos

Your Pine-ness Cocktail Recipe Before delving into the ingredients and recipe for Buffalos’ delectable Ricotta Meatballs and Sauce, it is imperative that the chef has an excellent cocktail for cooking. Pairing the sweetness of pineapple with the woody flavo...

Sep 2023
palmetto bluff neighborhoods

Real Estate / Waterfront Neighborhoods in Palmetto Bluff

Coastal Palmetto Bluff Neighborhoods Palmetto Bluff, a private community nestled along the South Carolina coastline, presents a harmonious blend of luxurious living, recreational spaces, and a vibrant atmosphere. The meticulously designed Palmetto Bluff neigh...

Sep 2023
wilson landing

Waterways / Behind the Bluff with Marina Captain: Thomas Shanahan

Meet Captain Tom of Palmetto Bluff’s Wilson Landing  In the tranquil embrace of Bluffton's Lowcountry, where rivers wind their way through nature's masterpiece, an extraordinary tale unfolds at Wilson Landing of Palmetto Bluff. The story belongs to Captain Th...

Sep 2023
luxury kitchen design

Architecture & Design / Designing the Southern Kitchen of Your Dreams

Your Guide to a Luxury Kitchen Design The kitchen has long been the heart of the home, where cherished memories are cooked up and shared. When it comes to Lowcountry living, a well-designed kitchen is not just a place to prepare meals but a space that encapsu...

Sep 2023
summer bucket list

Culture / Summer Activities to Check Off Your List Before the Fall

10 Activities You Have to Cross Off Your Summer Bucket List While the days are long and the sun hangs high in the sky, summer offers a golden opportunity to create lasting memories and partake in a variety of thrilling activities. Before the cooler breeze of ...

Sep 2023

Conservation / Water Way

Palmetto Bluff is an ecological wonderland, with its maritime forest and tidal rivers, its salt marsh and abundant wildlife. But perhaps one of the most unique features of this wedge of Lowcountry is the impressive inland waterway that wends through the landsc...

Aug 2023

Artist in Residence / Places Around Palmetto Bluff to Paint Plein Air

Plein Air Painting and Our August Artist in Residence Palmetto Bluff is a paradise for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike with its breathtaking landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and serene atmosphere. With that being said, the Bluff is the perfect canvas f...

Aug 2023
coastal living

Waterways / Experience Health and Happiness By Living on the Coast

5 Health Benefits of Coastal Living Did you know that life by the coast is not only the most idyllic way to live, but it also improves your health? All in all, coastal living is a rejuvenating experience for the mind, body, and soul. From the cool, salty bree...

Aug 2023
south carolina lowcountry

Culture / 9 Enticing Facts About the Lowcountry

Discover the Charm of the South Carolina Lowcountry Where history and nature intertwine with effortless grace, the South Carolina Lowcountry is a region that allures visitors and residents alike with its timeless beauty, enchanting landscapes, and diverse cul...

Aug 2023
Community Villages
Palmetto Bluff Club
On The Water
The Arts Initiative
About Us