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Posts Tagged ‘feathers’

Red-Tail Feathers

July 23rd, 2014

Red-Tail Feathers

two red-tail tail feathers from Cedar

Two red-tail tail feathers from Cedar

Cedar is spending her second summer as my Hunting Partner and is furiously molting her feathers.  This fall will make her a 2x PFRT (Two-time inter-mewed passage female Red-Tailed Hawk).  As a falconer, this is a *first* moment for moulting.  These feathers are special for a few reasons.  They are adult Red-Tailed feathers that a falconer can ONLY get after the first complete moult.  As Cedar is my third Red-Tailed hawk, she is the first bird I’ve kept for more than two hunting seasons. Most falconers have plenty of Red-Tail feathers that are from their immature hawks that moulted during their first summer.  At this point, falconers have a decision to make about continuing the partnership for another year. Feathers that are moulted this summer can be saved and used in the event that breakage occurs and are handy to keep around for imping.

I’ll post a follow up article in September after Cedar completes her second moult.

-Cheers!

Raptor Biology ,

USFWS Feather Atlas

September 2nd, 2011

USFWS Feather Atlas

Click here -> USFWS Feather Atlas.  This is a great resource for feather research and matching feathers to birds.

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Moulting Update for September

September 27th, 2010

Moulting Update for September

Well, here we are at the end of September.  Hunting season is just around the corner and Tahoe’s feathers are in prime condition for another hunting season.  I recently sent this photo to a friend of mine who remarked: “Wow, is that the same bird?” and the answer of course, is “yes.”  Tahoe has moulted all her feathers and the process seems to be complete. There are less feathers in the mews this week and the only feathers that constantly appear are the small, white fluffly down feathers, which seem to continuously shed anyway.  She is quite magnificent now with her dark wings, bright tan-orange front, and her stunning red tail.

Looking forward to a second great hunting season!

-ChrisM

Raptor Biology , ,

Moulting Update for August

August 12th, 2010

Moulting Update for August

We are armpits deep into the dog-days of summer now, pulling to the middle of August.  It’s been a warm season with lots of activity in the backyard garden for Tahoe.  Her moulting process continues to be a delight to me as her colors continue to change and enhance her appearance.  She is beautiful! Her new coat of fresh clean adult plumage is in perfect condition and she looks exceptionally darker than she did as an immature hawk.  Her red tail really stands out and certainly the most noticeable feature of her adult plumage.  Her red tail is mostly full, with a few feathers left to grow in to their full length.  You can notice on the back feathers and the secondaries in the wing, the contrasting colors that her new feathers have against the old ones. I’m super excited for the onset of the fall hunting season to see what she has retained from last year, and to watch her continue to develop her hunting skills back on the wing for her favorite quarry.

-Good Moulting!

Raptor Biology , ,

Moulting Update for July

July 23rd, 2010

Moulting Update for July

Summer can be a quiet time for falconers with a moulting bird. For me, it’s a time to learn more about my Hunting Hawk and see how she does with a regular routine.  The feathers are coming in quite nicely, I can’t wait until her tail is full summed.  Her wings are going to be very dark and the front of her chest is already getting some colored streaks to it.  She may or may not lose her belly band this year, but that remains to be seen. Some red-tails don’t lose it until the second season.
In the picture above, Tahoe has lost all of her immature tail feathers, and you can notice the difference in coloration between the newly grown feathers in the secondaries on the wing (they are darker).  The red tail feathers continue to grow in.  Keeping the mews clean has been quite a challenge, as it looks like someone went in there and had a pillow fight!

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