A closer look at the feathers of familiar birds
Feathers are inherently fascinating, they line our pillows and jackets, fill our literature, and inspire us with beauty and function. The Feather Atlas is a great resource for investigating the feathers of countless birds. Pepper Trail, the one behind the Feather Atlas, shared a few of these beautiful photos of feathers from familiar birds around the country.
The gorgeous iridescence on the tail feathers of magpies rivals that of peacocks, but is often difficult to see as the birds fly through the wide-open western landscapes that they call home.
It’s known by all and despised by many: the European Starling. In winter, the starling’s new feathers are tipped with pale spots, which wear away by spring to reveal their full iridescence.
These are the golden hackle feathers from the neck of a Golden Eagle. They rise like flames as the bird falls from the sky like lightning.
We don’t usually think of woodpeckers as having beautiful feathers, but the plumage of flickers deserves our attention and admiration. The heart-shaped spots on the breast are especially lovely.
This is our smallest and most widespread falcon. They may not look as fierce as the lordly Peregrine, but if you were a grasshopper, they would be your worst nightmare!
So familiar that its beauty is often overlooked, the Blue Jay is just one of several North American jays with blue feathers. But none have so many shades of blue — how many do you see?
Who doesn’t love juncos? Nobody, that’s who. The junco’s unmistakable white outer tail feathers flash at just about every winter bird feeder in America.
So next time you see one of these birds, we hope they feel more familiar to you.