August 22nd, 2012
Every year, our education birds molt their feathers, which we then collect. What do we do with all those feathers? We ship them to one of two national feather banks, established for the purpose of fairly distributing them to Native Americans. This is most of our 2012 contribution. Today, Gena Esposito, our Education and Outreach Coordinator, sorted and packed this year’s contribution, getting ready to send to Liberty Wildlife Center in Arizona.
Ferruginous Hawk feathers are very pale and the tail feathers are a dusky, almost white color.
Below are Peregrine Falcon feathers. Note the banding on each feather, even the smallest ones.
American Kestrels are very colorful. The black and white banded ones belong to our females and the rufous ones are male tail feathers. OOPS! One of these feathers is not like the others. Can you see the dark banded tail feather? It came from our Merlin.
Below are Swainson’s Hawk feathers. Note the dark, grayish tones throughout. Swainson’s Hawks are the only North American Buteo that has dark flight feathers when viewed from below.
Of course, these are easy to identify – Red-tailed Hawk! Did you know that they don’t acquire their trademark red tails until their first molt at age one?
Rough-legged Hawk feathers have a sharp contrast between the light, virtually white side and the dark brownish/grayish side. Very striking.
Great Horned Owl feathers are fringed on the edges and along the upper side to enable the owls to have silent flight.