If you were to grind a Scarlet Ibis’ feather you would end up with a reddish powder. But grind a bluebird’s feather (or any blue feather) and you won’t have blue powder. The powder would only be a grayish brown. That’s because there are no feathers that are really blue.
Almost all of the magnificent colors you see on a peacock are not really there. The same goes for many of the green feathers that adorn some very beautiful birds. And the iridescent beauty of some hummingbirds? It isn’t there as a pigment color either.
These are structural colors. This means that the feathers are constructed to scatter and absorb light molecules. When the reflected light finally reaches our eyes it is a hybrid color designed by God.
These structures are intricate and complex. The individual color structures of the peacock feather, for instance, range in size somewhere between molecular and microscopic and are measured in nanometers! These structural arrays are near the size of light waves and scatter photons in an orderly way to produce complex images in our brains. Some feathers reflect ultraviolet light which is invisible to humans but not to birds. God is amazing!
Job 39:13 Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?