Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A tickle of Red Kite feathers

Over the last couple of years we've collected a rather impressive tickle of Red Kite feathers. (A tickle of feathers has to be one of the better collective nouns around!) Most come from Nanny and Grampy Moth's garden,  as they have been adopted by a pair of Red Kites (Kenny and Katrina) who live in their back garden and regularly drop feathers for them as little presents.

#100DaysOfNature Day 27

It was only when Bug Mad Girl came home with a bright orangey red feather, that I realized how brown they all are. Most are dark brown and white, with the distinctive brown stripes on them. This feather was much brighter and redder that the rest, but still has the brown stripes on it.

The feathers are all different shapes and sizes. The longest ones (left in the picture above) are 45cm long. They're dark brown and get thinner at the tip, with a wider white strip down one side near the bottom. I think these must be the wing tip feathers that give the Red Kites the distinctive pointy wings when they're flying. The most common ones we find are dark brown, with a white side and brown stripes, that are wider on one side than the other and end in a point (right hand feather in the picture above). These must be either the tail or underwing feathers. Then the red feather (middle in the picture above) is 30cm long, much more rounded and a different colour to the other feathers.

In the photo below you can see the different types of wing and tail feathers, with their brown stripes clearly shown.

This is Kenny, posing for a photo in Nanny Moth's back garden. He's not tame, but hangs around their garden with Katrina and asks for his breakfast and tea every day. Kenny and Katrina have nested in a tree in the back garden for the last two years, raising two chicks last year (but failing this year).

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I wonder if BugMadGirl would be willing to collect me some Red Kite feathers for a book I am writing at all please? If so my email is cotter65@btinternet.com
    Many thanks if you can hel, Jarrod