Nature In The Natural State: The Feather Atlas

Aug 3, 2020

Have you ever found a feather and wondered what kind of bird it belonged to?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains the Feather Atlas, an image database on the Internet dedicated to the identification and study of the feathers of North American birds. The Atlas contains images of the three types of flight feathers—primaries, or outer wing feathers—secondaries, or inner wing feathers—and rectrices, or tail feathers.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which is the reason we see as many birds as we do today, prohibits the possession of feathers of native migratory birds. So, take a picture of that feather—but be sure to leave the feather where you found it.

For more information, check out The Feather Atlas.