I could have titled this post, That time I thought I broke the law and frantically went into research mode. The other day I was walking to the apartment’s laundromat and found a feather. Then I realized that the more attentive I was to my surroundings, the more feathers I found. So I quickly threw a load in the wash, set my timer (because no one likes moldy clothes), went back, got a jar and started collecting.
Upon returning with a full jar of feathers, I did a quick “how do you clean feathers” search because you never know and it’s best to be safe. Turns out, soap and water is all you need. On my search to find that answer I also found out that collecting feathers is illegal, no matter how you got them. Now, that’s not true of all birds but it’s true of a lot of birds and not just bald eagles and endangered species.
What I learned…
There are a few laws out there protecting birds and the biggest one is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, followed by some others. I am still boggled that picking up a feather (depending on the bird) is illegal and I then read of many instances of people prosecuted for possession of said feathers. However, I’m appreciative of why that act is around and the good that it does do. Note: These are U.S. laws. So be sure to check your own laws if outside the U.S.
To find out if I broke the law I had to know:
- What birds were not protected by the law? This link gave me that answer.
- What bird’s feathers did I have exactly? And this link gave me that answer – I learned that I had the feathers of bluebirds and spotted doves.
So I wrote down the family and species name of the birds and cross checked with that comprehensive list. I found out that I didn’t break the law! Those particular birds are not protected.
However, if you do find a feather, check out those websites. Otherwise you might just be breaking the law, you little feather finder you!
Note of caution: Don’t leave the feathers out when you have cats. One of my cats got to it and started to make it breakfast. Good thing I had already cleaned them at that point.
I look forward to doing some fun things with these feathers. Expect some future posts and possible DIYs with them.