Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What the heck is this bird feather from?

Walking home today from shopping, my daughter and I were walking along Francis Street toward Douglas Street (north side of intersection), when I saw a few feathers on the ground. I picked up a daggy old feather that had fallen off a bird. At first sight I thought it was an Australian Magpie feather, as when they fall out they are brown in colour (the all black ones). Nearby was an actual Australian Magpie feather which I also picked up. But as I was walking and looking at this feather I suddenly realized it had a metallic green sheen all over it (on the topside of the feather). WTF?

A noticable sheen but it's not the right colour green.
In full daylight this feather looks black with a metallic green sheen. In the shade the feather is actually brown as shown in this image above. I've tried my best to take a photo of the metallic green sheen but the actual green colour (in comparison to the image above) is actually a brighter mid green. The sheen covers the entire feather on the topside but is more prominent on the narrowest width of the feather in the sunlight and when trying to photgraph it. The feather itself is 16.5cm long and is an incomplete feather. It is missing feathery parts at the bottom of the feather. It has also been broken and is falling apart just below where the feathery part of the feather should begin. The feather was not there a few days ago, as I had already checked that area for feathers.

There are a few entirely black birds here in Tenterfield but none of them have an actual metallic green sheen in their wing feathers.

When we got home, we went to visit our neighbour, Carol, and I showed her the feather. She told me of some green metallic looking birds she had seen last year/summer in her garden. Carol had told me this sighting before but I forgot about it until when she told me about it again, tonight. Carol described the birds as being the size of Rainbow Lorikeets and they looked similiar in shape. They were eating grass seeds? on her lawn, and were actually on the ground. She saw them from above as she was looking out her kitchen window. The birds all looked green in colour, all basically the same coloured green colour but had a metallic green sheen on them.

This is just complicated now. I do not know of any all green coloured parrot that has a green metallic sheen to it, that lives in Australia. Nor do I know if a green feather, when it falls out of a bird, actually turns brown before it falls out the bird. I do know an all black feather will turn brown before it falls out. I've seen it happen on Australian Magpies. If I knew that then I could perhaps find out if this feather belonged to a parrot-like bird.

One more mystery to solve!


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