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Who owned this feather?
August 4, 2012 10:15 AM   Subscribe

What bird used to own this feather?

I'm not having much luck with The Feather Atlas and other online searches, so maybe someone here might instantly recognize it. This was found in Houston, TX in an area where many large birds frequent. It's about 16 inches from tip to quill so it's obviously a main wing feather. Any ideas? Thanks!
posted by Burhanistan to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)
 
Wild turkey?
posted by fshgrl at 10:25 AM on August 4, 2012


I don't think it's a turkey.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:30 AM on August 4, 2012


Huh, I came to guess a turkey, too. It looks similar to the turkey feathers I've found.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:32 AM on August 4, 2012


Possibly a Golden Eagle (spotted pattern)?
posted by LionIndex at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2012


Sadly, I don't think it's any kind of eagle, and Goldens don't range in this part of the state.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:58 AM on August 4, 2012


There's the better part of a turkey carcass in the woods where I walk my dog. The wings (with feathers still attached) are there; I'll try to stop by in the next day or two and see if there's anything that looks like this.

Sheesh. The things I do for my Internet peeps.
posted by workerant at 11:02 AM on August 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth, I also checked red-tailed hawk and vulture feathers, and neither of those seemed to be a match either.
posted by LionIndex at 11:24 AM on August 4, 2012


Also checked Cooper's, Sharp-shinned and Red-shouldered hawks. No joy.

(paging rtha...rtha to the courtesy phone)
posted by jquinby at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2012


It's most definitely not wild turkey. I've got a bunch of those here*; they correspond closely with the pics on the link above: the black[=brownish-grey]-white pattern is much more clear in those than in this sample, also the feathers tend to be wider.

I'm looking at this guy and wondering...in spite of what LoinIndex says.

*Yeah I know, you guessed it all: for use as harpsichord plectra. It's actually historically appropriate, described in some 18th c.-source or other as "Indianische Hühner."
posted by Namlit at 11:32 AM on August 4, 2012


Dang. Try and spell-check usernames. Lion. Lion!
posted by Namlit at 11:33 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, part of me doesn't want it to be a vulture but there are many of them around. But, that mottled pattern is not found on any ID pics that I saw. The size is consistent, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:41 AM on August 4, 2012


So I posted the photos to my fb and paged my friend Allen Fish, who runs the GGRO (which I volunteer for) to it. He thinks *maybe* turkey, but also possibly peacock! Doing an image search for peacock feathers is kind of a nightmare, but it might not be out of the realm of possibilities. See the image at the bottom.
posted by rtha at 11:43 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it looks a lot like the peafowl feather at the bottom of this image.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:55 AM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, you guys are probably right about it being a peacock. So, I know of some people in more rustic neighborhoods nearby that own peacocks, but I don't think it got over here. I found it by the curb soaking in a runoff stream from someone's automatic sprinkler, so I assumed the bird was having a bath. Now, I'm thinking it was just a human owned quill that blew out of a car or garbage can or something. That's certainly less...special.

But knowing is better than not, so thanks everyone!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:07 PM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I'll admit to breathing a sigh of relief.
posted by workerant at 12:32 PM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know of some people in more rustic neighborhoods nearby

Peacocks can range pretty far; I wouldn't count those out. And yeah, that would be my guess, too. They've got all kinds of beautiful feathers besides the big-eye tail feathers.
posted by fiercecupcake at 4:20 PM on August 4, 2012


There is also a colony of around 50 peafowl in the suburban River Forest neighborhood (south of Memorial Drive, east of Dairy Ashford) - you'll find mentions and photos online.
posted by ahayika at 5:54 AM on August 6, 2012


In the interest of science, I checked the late turkey in the woods. Indeed, no match. Peafowl it is, then.
posted by workerant at 10:15 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


> There is also a colony of around 50 peafowl in the suburban River Forest neighborhood (south of Memorial Drive, east of Dairy Ashford) - you'll find mentions and photos online.

That's actually a few miles from me. I've never seen one around here, though. Interesting.

At any rate, it being a peahen explains why The Feather Atlas and other university resources weren't helpful. I had a thought that it was something domesticated but put that aside in the quest for something extraordinary like an Andean condor or something. Story of my life.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2012


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