With a slight apology to Cole Porter:
I love nature in the springtime.
I love nature, why oh why do I love nature,
because of all the treasures to be found. 

Well, I was going to write about the childish delight that still arises when I find bird feathers and egg shells on our walks. I’ve been known to carry a yolk-shellacked shell home, saving it to share with my granddaughters.

I have learned it is illegal to do this. Ditto fallen feathers of US migratory birds, including those of crows, cardinals, blue jays and every North American bird that might frequent your feeder. The law is draconianly rigid, understandable given the species that were hunted into extinction and the plight of present-day birds as human expansion destroys habitat after habitat. 

There is one feather I found that I can still enjoy guilt-free. Peacocks are not native to North America. I found this feather on the ground at the zoo and took it home. I am not a destroyer of Nature. I take spiders outside when I find them in our house. I taught my children to return sidewalk-stranded worms back into the grass after a rainstorm. My granddaughters and I will release our spring treasures back into the wild once we have studied and delighted in them. Except this one:



  1. Dr. Anita Rosenfield

    Wow! I thought it was just eagle feathers (except for Native American religious/spiritual/ritual activities). Now I learn “More than 800 species are currently on the list, including the Bald Eagle, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, American Crow, Canada Goose, Mourning Dove, Barn Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Barn Owl, and more. That means the feathers of all of these birds are forbidden.” Well, too bad for that–I have a bunch of dropped feathers that I’ve collected over the years–keep thinking I’ll do something artistic with them. Hmmm.

    • Debra Darvick

      Yep. Do something artistic, just don’t try to sell it!

  2. Elizabeth

    I am a birder and had no idea about the feathers. I guess there is no way to tell that you didn’t kill the bird to get the feather.
    I wonder what the black-and-white feather is and am guessing a woodpecker of some kind. Enjoy!

  3. Laurie

    Wow, Debra, I didn’t know any of this! I’m a nature lover too! You’re full of interesting facts about all things, and here it arises when talking about feathers and birds. Thanks, as ever, for such interesting commentary. I love it!

    • Debra Darvick

      Yeah, it’s kind surprising. As synchronicity would have it, the next day
      the most amazing blue jay feather was at my feet.


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