Science Photo of the Day


This is Science Photo of the Day #100! What is special about the way that Great Blue Herons clean their feathers?

Correct, as usual. Great Blue Herons have special feathers called Powder Down on some areas of their body. When they scratch those areas, the ends of the feathers break off into a fine powder, which absorbs oils and dirt from their feathers. Then they use a specially adapted claw to comb the feathers, removing the powder and the dirt.

The Andrews Family wrote on Fri, 11/06/2009 - 16:44:

Congrats on 100 pictures!!! Um, we give up on this one though. :-) Our best guess is that they use their tongues. We have no idea.

farrkids wrote on Fri, 11/06/2009 - 15:46:

i think that there feathers don't have that special water proof thing!

Tsia Farr

Anonymous wrote on Fri, 11/06/2009 - 13:29:

Dear Mr. Krampf

I looked it up and I found out that Great Blue Herons have special feathers that break up into powder. They rub the powder in with a comb-like claw on the middle toe of each foot and it cleans their feathers.

Happy 100th picture day!