A Dropped Feather

Top Photo: What bird’s feather? I found the feather (above) on the path, not far from the Dinosaur Trail. I knew it was a primary feather, one of the last primaries, furthest out on the wing. The outer primaries tend to be long and narrow in comparison to the inner primaries and secondaries. This feather was about 87 mm long. A primary feather that long would probably belong to a bird about the same size of a robin, or aRead more

Green Lynx

It was a loosely wrapped nest of silk on a plant in the garden above the Butterfly House. What looked at first to be seeds under a loose knit top layer of silk were actually the tiny abdomens of dozens of spiders. The seeds jumped to life when I poked at the nest with my finger. The mother of these juvenile green lynx spiders hung by her eight legs beneath the nest. Green lynx spiders don’t build webs to captureRead more


  Each year, adult birds need to molt their flight feathers (the wing and tail feathers). The feathers wear out, become frayed, twisted, and in general less efficient. Some birds, like ducks and geese, lose all of their flight feathers at once, they can’t fly. Ducks and geese can afford to do this because they can spend their flightless days out on open water away from potential land-based predators. Most birds, though, need to fly every day, at a moments notice,Read more

Bald Eagle

Okay, Okay, it is a bit far away. But, the eagle was quite high and the lens out at full zoom. It’s the best I could do with what I had at hand. I know, I know, Bald Eagles are supposed to have a white head and tail. You’re right, adult eagles do. But, it can take about four years to acquire those features, the white head and tail. This eagle, the eagle in the photos, is only about twoRead more

Missing Feathers

Many birds are currently molting their flight feathers (wing and tail feathers). Some have completed their molt while others are still in the process of doing so. I’ve found various wing feathers floating in the Wetlands, on the path around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind loop, and at the Bird Feeder Exhibit. All birds molt. The wear and tear of daily life necessitates the replacement of old, worn feathers. While the contour feathers (the body feathers on the back,Read more