Friday, June 13, 2014

Feathers For Our Feathered Friends

Our Pekin duck and chicken feathers are in high demand these days........ They are plentiful and free for the taking!!


This adorable male Tree Swallow was playing with this feather before going to the nest box with it.... Clean, loose feathers are important for Tree Swallows. They line their nests with them, lots of them....It keeps the babies comfortable and dry.


They are everywhere... I found this feather hanging onto a dandelion.... The first thing in the morning when the ducks and chickens emerge from their house, is the best time to capture this spectacle!!  The Tree Swallows are not far; look up, and you will see them swooping and gliding everywhere.... In the meantime, they are in search of a freshly preened feather from down below.... don't blink if you want to witness the take, because they are fast!!


There he goes!!  As you can see, there are a few more feathers close by, but they won't be there for long....


The male Tree Swallow was having a little bit of a problem getting this feather in the nesting box.... He was trying so hard.... I looked closer and noticed that the hollow shaft, also known as calamus (the pointed end pictured just above his head) was too long to fit in the nesting hole.  I waited until he eventually dropped the feather.  I assisted by snipping the calamus off.  Then, I tossed the feather into the wind and a few seconds later, he caught it in mid-air!!


And there he goes with it to the nest... !! Oh, you're welcome, glad to help out (wink, wink)


We have been watching the Tree Swallows collect many of these naturally shed feathers and take them to their nest over the past two weeks.  Here's a peek when they arrived.


The female and male both work very hard in the nest making process....


Rise and shine.....


Say hi to Squirt....she is happy, along with all of the other Pekin ducks to contribute her soft downy feathers to the nesting Tree Swallows!!