Colour misconception: sunshine filtered through green leaves

Sunshine filtering through green leaves of both forest canopy and leafy undergrowth can ‘alter’ the true color of a bird’s plumage. This is especially true of whites, which can turn yellowish, and light greens and browns, which can increase in perceived saturation. In my experience, birds in fresh plumage are especially prone to color misconception. Take, for example, this first basic (first fall) Least Flycatcher. I followed this bird with my lens, taking a series of photos as it foraged low in the leafy undergrowth. Midday sunlight shone through the canopy above. Notice here (using the “true” appearance of the bird, at right, as a guide) in the photo at left how the whites turn to yellowish-green and the light dusky tones turn to a deep, mossy green.

Photo: Least Flycatcher. Shirleys Bay, Ontario. 4 September 2015.

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Photo: Least Flycatcher. Shirleys Bay, Ontario. 4 September 2015.