Hi! My name is Amanda. I’m a birder, photographer, and amateur forensic ornithologist. I live and observe wildlife mostly in the eastern United States. I’ve independently studied feathers since the summer of 2016, from categorizing structure to discerning the feathers of different species.
I have administered the iNaturalist project Found Feathers since 2017, which has grown into a large, active, and vibrant online community. It is a great place to connect with fellow feather enthusiasts. Come check it out if you haven’t already–to this day, I continue to be surprised by the observations of rare and beautiful feathers that people share from around the world.
I have been fortunate to meet and work with a number of professionals in the natural sciences. I interned at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, where I cataloged the education collection, developed and implemented public programming, and pursued personal inquiries using their collections. I assisted with bird banding research in Pennsylvania and learned to handle and document migrant and resident passerines. And thanks to the kindness of the team at the Feather Identification Lab, I was able to observe professional forensic ornithologists at work in the Smithsonian’s extensive bird collections.
While often overlooked by mainstream birders, feathers can offer a unique perspective through which to interpret an ecosystem. By looking down as well as up, you can see traces of who has passed through, and who has fallen prey. By looking for feathers, you add temporal dimensionality, because you may catch glimpses of the past. Knowing this, how could I ever stop searching for the next feather?
Here are some places where I can be found:
- iNaturalist: @featherenthusiast
- eBird: @featherenthusiast
- Instagram: @featherenthusiast
- Etsy: FeatherCraftStudio
You can find my 2021 high school commencement speech embedded below. (Beware of the bird puns!)