Hummingbird feathers

benflowerSeptember 12, 2008

I know this is REALLY off-the-wall, but I had a hummingbird in my garage and while trying to get him out, I accidentally pulled out a couple of feathers. I am giving my grandaughter a locket for her birthday and thought of trying to find someway to put one of the feathers in the locket for her. (Does anyone have ideas on how I could do this? I have thought about clear nail polish, laminating (though I think that the heat would destroy the feathers,)or some sort of spray sealant.

any ideas will be appreciated.

Thanks

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trianglejohn

Most feather art that I've seen involves just securing the pointed end and not the filaments of the feather. My fear would be that the irridescence would be lost if you coat the filaments with any sort of clear liquid - but nail polish would make the most sense.

By the way. What you are proposing is illegal. All parts of migratory birds are illegal to possess - for any reason, regardless of if you sell them or give them as gifts or keep them as keepsakes. Its all about not making any body part as well as a live bird be valuable for any reason. Fines have been handed out for children using found blue jay feathers in school art projects - so if you think you can get away with it, go ahead but the federales don't play nice.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 1:47PM
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blueangel(7b)

My concern and I agree with John
but the bird haveing lost feathers
may be unable to fly and may be in
harms way.I know or hope you did this
by accident but the bird should have been
taken to a vet or a bird sanctuary to be looked
at before being set free.
The Feds are tough on this.

Blueangel

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 3:07PM
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brenda_near_eno(Z7a)

Funny cuz I came home from working out of town this week to have my DH and sons announce that 2 hummungbirds were nesting in the garage. Huh? Sure enough there were 2 FEMALES stuck in the garage, frantic to get out, flying against the ceiling, and unable to figure out to fly downward 5 feet to get out open garage door - hmmm, real bird-brains. They had been there all week, occasionally resting on an abandoned Carolina wren nest. DH had thought to hang a feeder inside the garage, thinking that they would like food as they tended their ENORMOUS nest. As soon as we moved the feeder to the garage door opening, it led them to freedom. I recommend this as a way to get a stranded hummer out of your garage, rather than trying to grab or net.

(No worry with Carolina wrens. Apparently their brains are just large enough to figure out how to use the doggy-door, even if the garage door is closed.)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 4:00PM
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dellare(7NC)

Susan Campbell is our local hummingbird bander and she mentioned on her last visit here that hummingbirds can lose their feathers at will if they think it will help them to escape a predator. Adele

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 6:24PM
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trianglejohn

Well Brenda, Mike gets the gold star for that move! Hummingbirds perish if they go for a day without food. Their metabolisms are so high they either need total darkness so they can sorta-hibernate or they need light and food. Touchy touchy birds. I've rehabbed them before and they are fascinating once they tame down - very unbird like.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 9:08PM
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Tammy Kennedy

I know parrots are capable of purposely loosening their tail feathers if held this way to escape- so it makes sense that other bird species could. It's a simple defense mechanism similar to lizards being able to shed tails.

Brenda, thank heavens you came home and figured out a simple solution! poor little dizzy buggers.

so john- how do they become when they tame down? Sounds fascinating!

Do the federal rules only cover migratory species- ie- if you find a cardinal feather is it asking for trouble to keep it since they don't migrate? I've never given a thought to collecting downed feathers i find, but will certainly be more cautious in the future. I totally understand why the rules are there, to protect birds from poaching- but there should be some sort of 'out' to allow for found feathers. After all, they're a lot more plentiful than what's attached to the bird- they molt 2x a year for most species! And at that point, the bird sure doesn't care.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 11:04AM
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trianglejohn

Tammy - they calm down in a few days and get very fixated on you, hovering all around while you mix up their food. If they are injured and cannot fly they sit and chatter at you - but you usually can't set them on your finger because its too big, you have to use a toothpick or skewer so that they can grip. But they get really tame, just unafraid of anything - which is not like any other song bird, everything scares the cr@p out of them! The main problem is their metabolism - its been years since I worked with them, so things may have changed - but they need to eat like so many calories every 30 minutes. If you can't get them to eat you have to cool them down and keep them in the dark so that they will shut down otherwise they exhaust themselves and you'll never get them to recover. Hardly anyone raises orphaned chicks, its next to impossible to get to them in time should something happen to their parents. Most often they are window-banged, minor-damage victims and all they need is peace and quiet away from predators for a day or so before they get released.

Though it is called the Migratory Bird Act it protects all native birds including the ones that don't migrate. The only wild birds in this area that are removed from this protection are European Starlings (what most people call Starlings) and Rock Doves (what most people call pigeons). There are jewelry makers and craftsmen that use fancy feathers in their artwork, most often they buy feathers that are specially bred from hybrids of wild birds (like mixing a Blue Jay with a Scrub Jay, you get nice blue feathers from a bird that does not exist in the wild, therefore it is immune to protective laws - except anti cruelty laws). This is how a lot of falconers get away with owning hawks and falcons - they buy hybrids instead of true species. Even in these situations it is best to keep all documentation handy to show the authorities because they tend to confiscate first and check the facts second. In most cases that an official discovers your collection of songbird feathers they just threaten you with a steep fine and take all your feathers away and dispose of them. The people that usually get into real trouble are the people that are selling feathers or something with feathers on it (like artwork).

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 12:44PM
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benflower

To John and Blueangel. I appreciate the information you provided. However, I was trying to RESCUE the bird-- NOT pull out its feathers. I had tried over and over with a soft broom (the bird was beyond my reach) to coax him out away from the window. The bird was frantically banging against the window trying to get out. I had no intention of pulling out it's feathers. When the bird got low enough for me to reach, I cupped my hand to try and GENTLY move it away from the window. In the process, several (probably four or five) small downy feathers came off in my hand. There were no wing or tail feathers. As for taking the bird to a VET, I am sure I would have done more harm than good trying to put the bird in some type of container to transport, but that wasn't an option as it didn't stay in my hand for more than a second, but flew with no problem out of the garage. It was only AFTER this happened that the idea of preserving one of the feathers for my granddaughter occured to me. BUT since I now know that the FEDS may be looking for me or may track down my 5 year-old granddaughter, I certainly will NOT do that.
Again thank you for the information. FYI- despite my screen name (Benflower)-- I am a very gentle LADY.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 1:00PM
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benflower

To John and Blueangel. I appreciate the information you provided. However, I was trying to RESCUE the bird-- NOT pull out its feathers. I had tried over and over with a soft broom (the bird was beyond my reach) to coax him out away from the window. The bird was frantically banging against the window trying to get out. I had no intention of pulling out it's feathers. When the bird got low enough for me to reach, I cupped my hand to try and GENTLY move it away from the window. In the process, several (probably four or five) small downy feathers came off in my hand. There were no wing or tail feathers. As for taking the bird to a VET, I am sure I would have done more harm than good trying to put the bird in some type of container to transport, but that wasn't an option as it didn't stay in my hand for more than a second, but flew with no problem out of the garage. It was only AFTER this happened that the idea of preserving one of the feathers for my granddaughter occured to me. BUT since I now know that the FEDS may be looking for me or may track down my 5 year-old granddaughter, I certainly will NOT do that.
Again thank you for the information. FYI- despite my screen name (Benflower)-- I am a very gentle LADY.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 5:11PM
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dyhgarden(7b)

Hummingbirds tend to fly into our garage -- that pull rope has RED on the end. And, my husband's tool storage is bright red.

We have had great luck using either a kayak paddle or our swimming pool net (as a perch, not a capture net) that we raise up to the hummingbirds. Those are the only long-handled tools that we have.

The hummingbirds have ALWAYS perched on what we have offered. We slowly lower them down from the ceiling and out the doors. I can't count how many we've rescued this way. They tend to go in the garage when I have the doors open to access my tools and such when I'm gardening.

Cameron

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 5:40PM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

I painted my garage door pull-down rope and grip (there's probably some technical name for that, right?...) dark green because I accidentally closed the door on a hummer one night in my garage. I found it dead the next morning...it broke my heart. I check every time I close the garage now, and anything red has been removed or painted.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:40PM
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