There really is magic all around our woods. The music of the forest air is strange and melodic. The dappled sunlight dances off of the fawny backs of dear and their babes. Almost daily Jonah and Nano find lovely sparkling stones, cool, bendy sticks and blushing feathers on the ground. Everywhere I go, I find myself scanning around my feet for the pretty plumes. But on a walk to the lookout a few weeks ago, we stumbled upon the scene of foul play (forgive me, but really, how could I not?!). It was little Natalie, her eyes so near the ground, who noticed the vermilion vestiges scattered on the forest floor. A veritable explosion of plucked pinions. She stopped, gathering them in her tiny hands, then toted them all the way to the lookout and back. Treasures carried by a princess, most certainly.
A few days later she searched diligently in our Birds Of North America book, comparing each quaffed quill to those in the pages, to no avail. My best guess had been the Black Headed Grosbeak, but the book said, No mama, you are wrong. So we wrote a pleading petition to an ornithologist; sent pictures - the works.
In one short day we received our response. And the results are...
The Northern Flicker Woodpecker.
The kind and very informative email came with a most unfortunate post script. We were instructed to return the feathers to the forest. Apparently, anti-poaching laws state that one may not keep any foundling feathers, because it cannot be proven that they were not procured by nefarious means. You can't just look at a feather and tell if it simply fell from the sky, or was plucked from an assassinated avian.
We can apply for a permit, like real live scientists,
to be able to catalog and keep our coral calami (I know that one was a stretch. Calamus is just the quill part of the feather, but ya' know, I needed a feather related C word).
In the mean time they must go back out to nature.
Do you think our back porch
is close enough to the forest?