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Feather Fest Countdown: Feather Fact #10

Feather Fact #10 – Blue Feathers are not blue!

Well sure they appear to be blue to our eyes, but the coloration we see is not due to pigmentation as one might expect. In birds, blue is what is called a structural color and is the result of how tiny air pockets within the feather barbs interact with light. If you were to hold a blue feather up against the light (back light the feather)  it would appear brownish.  For an in depth explanation on feather coloration, see this article.

Feather Fest almost is almost here!

Saturday, September 23rd 10 AM to 3PM at Parc des Rapides, Lasalle QC.

We’re celebrating the world of boreal birds and the wonders of fall migration. Don’t miss what’s sure to be a fun event.

Featuring bird walks – live birds of prey – fun hands-on activities – café serving shade grown coffee, and more!

It’s going to hot on Saturday, make sure to wear a hat, bring a water bottle and a snack.

Feather Fest Countdown: Feather Fact #9

Great Egret in breeding plummage ( Photo: Pixabay)

Three days to go to Feather Fest! Looks like the weather will be in our favour so don’t miss what’s sure to be a fun day!  A variety of family friendly activities are planned: enjoy a bird walk, learn bird ID, check out the live raptor display, get some bird-friendly gardening tips and more. You can even   take a break at BPQ’s Boreal Café and enjoy a cup of shade-grown coffee or  glass of lemonade! See the flyer for details and find location info here.

It’s all part of our 100th anniversary celebration, which is why today’s Feather Fact is drawn from bird conservation history.

Feather Fact #9 – Feathers worth more than their weight in gold.


The 19th and early 20th century plume trade resulted in the massacre of millions of birds for the sake of women’s hat fashion. For example, adult egrets were slaughtered while on the nest for their much admired “aigrette” feathers which only emerge in the breeding season. Whole rookeries of adults were killed en masse, the carcasses stripped for the feathers then discarded, and the nestlings left to starve. An account from 1900 notes plume hunters were paid  32$/ounce for feathers, which was almost double the price of gold at the time! Apparently it required the killing of 4 herons just to get an ounce of heron feathers. You can find more conservation history in this post.

Feather Fest Countdown – Feather Fact #8

Tails serve vital flight functions

Feather Fact #8 – Flight Feathers part 2


The flight feathers of the tail are referred to as the rectrices. The term seems rather aptly derived from the Latin for “helmsman,” given its important role in directional control. The tail feathers act like a rudder on an aircraft or boat to aid with steering left and right. They also augment the wings’ lift function; raising or lowering its tail lets a bird rise or descend. In flight, a bird can twist its tail to shift direction, when perched the tail helps it balance. Most bird species have 10-12 retrices which occur in pairs.