Apparently a turkey feather


the remains of someone's dinner

This gorgeous object was found by Sabine on her morning walk — among some other feathers that were in badly damaged condition. We worried at first that it might represent the death of one of our local hawks, but the good ol’ internet tells me it’s almost certainly a turkey feather. Meaning our hawk might have had quite a nice meal off this departed bird…

The feather is about a foot long, and perfect. Sabine gave it to me, and I love it!

But I worry about tiny parasites… I’m thinking of putting it in a plastic bag and micorwaving it for a bit. About which Google has not helped me. Any opinions out there?

8 Responses to “Apparently a turkey feather”

  • Sean Fagan Says:

    I wouldn’t microwave it — small particulates being heated worry me.

    Try freezing it. Ideally, put it in a cooler with a block of dry ice, with a small washrag (or equivalent) keeping it from direct contact with the feather.

  • Elizabeth B Says:

    Egad. Er, I would think that your freezer might be a better choice. Don’t want the thing scorching… People use the freezer to kill any… uh, things… that might be present in flour when they get it home from the store. (Suddenly I am not at all sure that you would want me to be more explicit. Yuck.)

    Wait, who am I talking to? This is the woman who invented casting. Weevils and such, or moths… that’s what I’m blathering about.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Ha, freezing is something I would not have thought of. (Nor did I know about the freeze-your-infested flour trick, Elizabeth, and it’s an excellent detail for some future story.) I shall certainly try it.

      I’m not about to wear this lovely in my hair or anything (oh, I’d look so silly if I did), but I’d like to be able to handle it, hang it decoratively from a guitar strap, use it as a hand-bound book embellishment, or just stick it on my bulletin board for inspiration — without worrying about any tiny tiny critters crawling off and making my or someone else’s life an itchy hell.

      I had figured microwaving it very briefly would TOTALLY EXPLODE any hapless near-microscopic denizens. But heck, there are tiny guys who can survive the vacuum of space.

      I think I worry because as a child I once saw tiny red critters crawl off a pigeon feather I’d found… so tiny that I couldn’t see their feet, just them; so tiny that when I touched them, they became smears the size of a typewritten period.

      But pigeons, lets face it, are dirty!

  • Judy Says:

    Here are two links that may be of use:
    Just please be sure that you do not have an eagle feather, as there is a law against using them except in very limited circumstances:
    A local artist was questioned by gov’t agents because of her use of found feathers, which was a big hassle for her.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Judy —

      According to this identification guide, page 13, figure 10, I’ve definitely got a turkey feather.

      Alas, not so great as a symbolic inspirational item… but soo pretty.

      Also: no eagles in the neighborhood that I’ve heard of (and I try to keep track of these things).

  • Sabine Says:

    If a hawk can get a turkey, then I’m impressed. Those turkeys are big suckers.

    I agree with Sean and Elizabeth. Freezing sounds good. The thought of exploded red critters in the microwave creeps me out.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Sabine –

      You know, could have been a coyote. I’ve yet to see one, but I know we’ve got ’em — I think you’re the person who told me.

      Microwave: I’d first put the feather in a plastic bag. To catch dead exploded critter bits.

  • Mairead Says:

    It’s probably too late, but the mites that live on feathers are so specialised that they’re unlikely to bother you. If that’s not sufficiently reassuring, dip the feather in hi-test alcohol (the 91% stuff, avail. from your local CVS or equivalent) for half a minute and then wave it dry.

    Turkey quills, allowed to dry out awhile, stripped of their barbs (the “feather” part), and cut correctly, make very nice pens.