I want to show you what I can see!

Hi, Fiona here again. I wish everyone in the world could see what I can see, which is fluorescent colors! Take a look at the above flower photographed under a special light. This is what I naturally see when I look at a plant, but for you to see the plant this way, you need to shine a special light on it.

I do see familiar colors like you, but I also see parts of the ultraviolet spectrum of light–or range of colors–that’s invisible to you. These extraordinary colors I see are called fluorescent colors. You can only see them by shining a special light, a blacklight or long-wave light, on things that fluoresce, like certain plants, insects, animals, and mineral rocks. My butterfly and bee friends also see fluorescence. It’s how we all know what things in nature we can eat and what we should avoid (like some animals or predators that don’t like us).

Imagine you’re a butterfly just waking up and you see a flower that looks delicious, but it is shining a color that tells you no, don’t! You instinctively know to stay away from it, so you do. I do this as well throughout my day when I’m looking for food or my bird friends.

When you come to visit me at Birds on the Brink Sanctuary, be sure to ask for your free blacklight. Shining this light on objects that fluoresce will help you better understand how I see the world.

Next time, I’d like to teach you about the “ultraviolet spectrum of light” to help you learn why I see many other colors than you do.

Photo of Fiona by: Leigh Lofgren

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