Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Free Feather Atlas On-Line

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from the Feather Atlas

The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory has released the online Feather Atlas. The website is designed to assist feather identification by providing high-resolution scans of flight feathers of major groups of North American birds. This is an ongoing project that will continually add new species.

The images typically illustrate the dorsal surfaces of 12 wing flight feathers (remiges) or six tail feathers (rectrices) from an individual bird. If the ventral surfaces of the feathers reveal distinct patterns not visible in the dorsal view, then a ventral scan is also provided. There is a glossary to aid in understanding of technical words.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to possess feathers of any migratory bird without a permit. All species of native North American migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty. The only exceptions are the feathers of legally-hunted waterfowl or other migratory gamebirds, which may be possessed by hunters. This prohibition extends to molted feathers and to feathers taken from road- or window-killed birds.

Permits may be acquired from the Fish and Wildlife Service for research and institutions.

See the Feather Atlas
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