OK, whose feather is this?!

29 09 2011

Ever found a feather and wondered what sort of bird it might have come from? Well, wonder no more! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensics Laboratory provides their Feather Atlas online! The site provides detailed scans of the flight feathers with a visual scale showing the feather’s size. While in many cases, it will not be possible to determine species from a single feather’s appearance, this is a great resource for narrowing things down, and for educating yourself.

Here’s an example from the poster bird for Seanetters everywhere: The Herring Gull. Pretty cool, huh?

Major disclaimer: it is a violation of federal law to possess even a single feather of MOST North American bird species. A federal permit is required to keep most feathers even for educational purposes. So snap a picture of your mystery feather and leave it where it lies. That’s today’s legal advice from your SEANET blogger.

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