Feather Identification Challenge Answers
Last week I posted a Feather Identification Challenge and for those of you that have taken it, click “Read the Rest” to see if you answered correctly! If you haven’t taken it yet and would like to, go to that post by clicking on the link in the first sentence. When you’re finished, come back to this one to test your feather skills.
This beautifully colored and patterned feather belongs to an owl, specifically a Great Horned Owl. If you look closely enough to an owl feather, you’ll be able to see a delicate “fraying” of the feather’s edges that is not present in the feathers of other birds. This “feathering” of the feather (ha!) actually allows the bird to fly silently, enabling it to sneak up on its prey in the darkness. Owl feathers are also incredibly soft, which is another way to identify them from, say, hawk feathers, if you’re able to touch the feather.
This feather belongs to an Osprey, and you can tell what part of the body it comes from. Notice how close the shaft is to the outside edge of the feather, and its dramatic curve? This is a “primary” feather, a flight feather that creates the “fingered” looked of a raptor’s wing while in the air.
The bright orange color and black tip of this feather are distinctive – it can only belong to the Northern Flicker! That pointed tip, like the placement of the shaft on the Osprey feather, tells us what part of the flicker’s body this feather is from. Being a woodpecker means spending a lot of time propped up on tree trunks, and this is a Flicker’s tail feather, which is stiff and stout to provide support.
I told you this was a corvid feather, and posted a close-up of the feather’s tip, which shines with iridescent blues and greens. Although it’s a bird of controversy, the magpie is undoubtedly a hidden gem in the bird world. Up close, or in the right light, its feathers shine with a remarkable variety of hues, even though from afar they look like a simple black and white pattern.
These feathers are actually still on the bird! If you guessed Golden Eagle, you were right. These are the nape, or neck, feathers of an adult Golden Eagle. In fact, they belong to Aquila, the resident eagle at the Sunriver Nature Center that visits the Cove at least once a year for Eagle Watch.
I hope you guys had as much fun with that as I did! 🙂 Thanks for joining me!