Feather Collection


Bird feathers have fascinated mankind since the beginning of time.
The legend of Daedalus and Icarus is just one example of this.

Birds need many different types of feathers to enable them to fly, to provide heat insulation, to protect them against moisture and to enhance courtship rituals.

In addition, feathers decisively influence the appearance of birds. That means that having many feathers is typical for bird species.
By closely examining the size, color, shape, structure and other special characteristics of a feather, you can determine the origin of a large feather (e.g. the wing or the tail) that you are trying to identify. (Small feathers are only helpful in exceptional cases in precisely identifying feathers). Additionally, in most cases, you can determine to which bird group (e.g. songbirds, ducks, owls) a feather can be assigned and, if it is characteristic enough, to which species and, under optimum circumstances, to which plumage stage it belongs.
A comparative collection is an essential tool to help you identify feathers. (You can probably find a useful collection in the Internet!). In addition, you must be familiar with the individual feather types and their position/relationship to each other.
Pluckings are a collection usually of large feathers that are leftovers of a meal left behind by predators such as foxes, cats, birds of prey or owls. Bird nests can also be a good source of information about local bird populations. Many birds (especially songbirds such as the long-tailed tit and the house sparrow) carry many feathers into their nests that can often help you to identify unusual species.

The author of these website texts has a comparative collection that includes many species, some of which are represented by a single feather and others by a complete set of feathers. This collection comprises almost exclusively indigenous (European) species. Exceptions to this include species that are frequently held in captivity but sometimes escape to freedom.
I collected the majority of the feathers in the collection myself over more than 30 years.
To prevent the feathers from just gathering dust in various cartons and binders, I have gradually published the most important parts of the collection on this website. You can use the species that I have published to supplement the below-listed feather collections that you can find in the Internet. These websites are intended to help feather collectors/interested nature friends to identify feathers they have found.
A professionally managed feather collection can certainly fulfill scientific requirements. To meet scientific requirements, you must precisely document the details of the feathers you found (location and date of finding, biometric dimensions and related circumstances) and carefully store your feathers.

You can find information about feather identification literature and other comparative collections under the corresponding tabs.

I must clearly draw your attention to the following: The German Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG (10 Par. 2 No.10)) prohibits the collection of animals that are protected by German nature conservation law (including all European bird species), parts of such animals and products produced therefrom as well as the ownership and commercial trading therewith. Such animals may not be removed from their natural environment, be imported or possessed (42 BNatSchG). German nature conservation authorities may approve exceptions to the above for scientific purposes (43 BNatSchG). I have received this kind of special permit for my feather collection and related work.

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