Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Borrowing a feather

Last night, I found another barred owl feather in our woods. A reminder they're with us still, though we may not cross paths or hear them as much. I like to imagine them watching silently from a branch just over my head, as I walk quietly beneath. And I wonder if my repeated walks into "their" world are as interesting for them as they are for me-- watching the woman who watches.
This feather was lovely--not a flight feather, as I've found before. But a more delicate type, with long, flowing downy edges--maybe from the breast? A feather for warmth and watershed. So perfect and clean.

I wanted to stay outside, walking, watching...keeping the special feather as a treasure. Tucking it in a pocket would have ruined it--so, when I suddenly wanted to take a picture in the grassy field, I set it softly on the ground beside me. In an instant, a swallow swooped toward it.
I've read others' stories about tossing feathers into the air for birds to snap up--but never imagined they'd come as close to me as this. Tree swallows carefully place feathers to curl over the nest and keep in warmth when the mother must be away. And, our second nest box is now being made ready by a nesting pair.
I will part with my lovely feather--leave it on the grass beneath the swallows. It will just gather dust on a shelf in my house.

The barn swallows have a fancy feather in their nest, too! What do you suppose this is from--black, wispy, with a white central band?

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cestoady said...

That nest feather has me stumped. Woodpecker ?? This is one for an expert like JZ or even Dr. von Vogelmeister, who is away on vacation,unfortunately.

Are there any exotic birds in the neighborhood ??

RuthieJ said...

That Barred Owl feather is beautiful. How lucky for you to have them living nearby. I love hearing them hoot when I'm out in the woods.

nina said...

Actually, we do have exotics across the road--guinea hens and cassowaries! I wonder....when this nest is empty, I'll pull it out for a closer look.

Mary said...

The owl feather is special. But what is more special? Having Barn Swallows... I love them.

mon@rch said...

I so love finding feathers out in the woods like this! Our BARN's are about to fledge and leave nest like that also!

Susan Gets Native said...

Nina: Good girl. Let the swallows have it, because it's illegal to have a feather from a bird of prey.

You have cassowaries and guinea fowl near you? Cool! Is someone raising them for...I don't know...food?
Since you like Barred Owls so much , you have to come see one of my presentations, and I will bring our Elvis, just for you.

Cathy said...

You must have been so stirred when you looked through the view finder at that sun-dappled feather. I know I've had the same reaction to wanting to bring a found shard of beauty into my domestic dullness. It's so human to want that - so enlightened to do otherwise. I've not always been successful :0)