Feather Identification Tips

Identifying bottomless feathers

Picture this: you’re walking down a trail, and a gorgeous feather catches your eye. You stop to look closer, and that’s when you see it–the bottom half of the feather is missing, replaced with a shredded shaft, a weird bluish tube, or just a bloody pulp. What happened? And how are you supposed to identify this bottomless feather?

Feather Finds, Feather Identification Tips

Robin feathers from Shenandoah

I recently had the opportunity to take a hike through the Shenandoah National Park of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Even in near-winter, the park looks absolutely stunning, with rushing mountain waterfalls and purple mountain majesty stretching into the horizon. The dense deciduous forest habitat seems to be a favorite of American Robins. Over the course… Continue reading Robin feathers from Shenandoah

Feather Identification Tips

What’s up with craft store feathers?

If you’ve ever made a seasonal kid’s craft, greeted garishly outfitted trick-or-treaters, or worn a feather boa, chances are that you’ve encountered craft feathers. You know, the ones that come in an array of fanciful, themed colors and, to be honest, look pretty cheap. Love ’em or hate ’em, there are an unfortunate number of misconceptions about what they really are.

Feather Identification Tips, Leucism

Unusual Blue Jay feathers: part two

I recently had the opportunity to revisit the Blue Jay I wrote about in this post after consulting with the Delaware Museum of Natural History’s Dr. Jean Woods (Curator of Birds). She recommended that I examine a larger sample size and allowed me to go upstairs into the collections (only one of the coolest places in the world if you ask me)! Drawing from the museum’s collection of Blue Jay spread wings and study skins, I looked for any specimens that shared the unusual patterns.