In most cases, collecting feathers in the United States is illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the possession of bird feathers, parts, and eggs. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to enjoy a feather-finding hobby.
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?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working my way through a HarvardX course titled “Tangible Things.” The course focuses on material culture–“stuff,” in a word–and it’s given me ample opportunity to reflect on the histories inherent in even the most mundane objects of everyday life.
Do you love Bald Eagles? (The only acceptable answer is “yes.”) As the iconic emblem of the United States and an undeniably impressive raptor, I always find it a treat to spot these guys. I spent the first few days of September 2019 in Ottawa, IL, one of the first places I started truly birding.… Continue reading Bald Eagles in Ottawa!
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.
You may already know this depending on your level of bird-nerdiness, but in some parts of the United States there are actually two different types of crows!
Earlier this week, I came across a very interesting Blue Jay specimen while doing a presentation at the Delaware Museum of Natural History.