Birds of a feather

Ruffed grouse, MB (Photo by Yaremchuk)

Ruffed grouse, MB (Photo by Yaremchuk)

December 21, 2015 | by Claire Elliott | 0 Comments

This winter I am taking the second half of a two-part ornithology course. The coursework is focused on taxonomy and identification, and as such I spend a lot of time in a lab handling specimens, both mounted and study skins.

The average birder will tell you that one of the many reasons for the hobby is that birds are beautiful, a fact that I am sure is known to most people. However, birds in the wild are not always sitting still in perfect lighting, so it can be a challenge to fully appreciate their feathers. 

Thus I thought I would share in an abstract kind of way how handsome and varied the plumage of birds found in eastern North America can be, using the study birds from the lab. Preferably I would have taken these pictures with a real camera (I used my cellphone), tripod, and better lighting, but I think the beauty of the feathers still shines through.

  • Male hooded merganser breast, flank and scapulars (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Male hooded merganser breast, flank and scapulars (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Gray partridge breast feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Gray partridge breast feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Northern gannet juvenile breast feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Northern gannet juvenile breast feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Male ring-necked pheasant coverts (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Male ring-necked pheasant coverts (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Male ring-necked pheasant flanks feeathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Male ring-necked pheasant flanks feeathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Male ring-necked pheasant retrices (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Male ring-necked pheasant retrices (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Female ring-necked pheasant mantle feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Female ring-necked pheasant mantle feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Male ruffed grouse retrices (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Male ruffed grouse retrices (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Sharp-tailed grouse mantle (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Sharp-tailed grouse mantle (Photo by Claire Elliott)
  • Male wood duck breast feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)
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    Male wood duck breast feathers (Photo by Claire Elliott)

 

This post originally appeared on Claire's blog, Birds of a Feather.

About the Author

Claire Elliott is a GIS and conservation data assistant with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Read more about Claire Elliott.

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