Explore is a philanthropic media organization

Feathers That Don’t Molt

Found in birds such as pigeons and herons, powder down feathers are never molted. Instead, they grow continuously but disintegrate at the tips into something like a fine talcum powder. The powder permeates the other feathers, presumably to provide waterproofing, although the exact function is not well understood. This immature black crowned night heron is

Sunset Flight

As the sun begins to set at the end of a long Maine summer day, lines of egret, herons, and ibis flock back to their marshy rookery in the middle of Stratton Island. Waiting in the tall reeds for the opportunity to photograph these beautiful wading birds, I startle this juvenile black crowned night heron