It was a bald eagle that started a conversation about feathers and that led to a discussion about finding and keeping feathers.
Do you know it's illegal to possess most feathers? It's true.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918) was passed to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.
If you come across a feather on a walk or hike, you can take photos, but it's best to leave it where you find it. There are hefty fines for possession.
If you do find a feather and you're curious about what bird the feather comes from, try identifying it. The Feather Atlas at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife is a good place to start.
Feathers and art
Feathers are symbolic of freedom and the presence of spirits. They are used in art and poetry.
Here's Emily Dickinson's well-known poem, "Hope" ...
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
The feathers at the top of the post are cut paper feathers I made from some of my painted sheet music. If you're looking for an activity, click on the image below to download and color or paint your own feathers. You can also use it as a template to draw your own, or cut paper feathers.
And if you do, I'd love to see it ... and maybe share it in an upcoming email or post. Together, we can inspire others.