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mary — November 08, 10:05PM

feather preservation

late summer i was visiting a friend in northern PA. on 2 successive days a bird flew into the window, broke it's neck, and died they were instantly. when i examined them. they both were Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. the thing is they both had pretty wing-linings. an immature male had red and female had goldy-orange wing-linings. i have been storing them in freezer in several layers of plastic bags. i would very much like to preserve these feathers to use them on a hatband- but i want to be safe from problems.

John Gerwin — November 08, 10:44PM

Greetings from a Museum Curator -
So, what you are proposing is technically illegal. We as individuals are not allowed to keep bird feathers. I know it sounds silly but this law stems from a lot of bird persecution in the late 1800's and really, even today. So, even though birds molt once or twice/year and are dropping feathers all over the place, not to speak of the 1000's that die from windows, cats, cars, etc..... we can't personally keep feathers or other bird carcass parts. You can donate the carcasses to an institution that has a permit to salvage or otherwise "possess" such. For instance, I'm the bird curator at our State Museum and we maintain such permits (Federal and State) as do many parks, nature centers, and quite a few schools. You can read up on this topic by searching for "Migratory Bird Treaty Act".

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