Thursday, March 24, 2011

Birds of a Feather

So, I have to ask: What is the deal with those feather hair extensions I am seeing everywhere? I'm not saying that I am "pro" or "anti" feather hair extension either way. I just don't get it. They kind of remind me of the 1980's feather hairclips, which were pretty much glorified roach clips. But, I'm not judging. I'll probably be sporting one next week, due to my fickle fashion sense...

That meaningless rant kind of serves as a clumsy segue into today's blog post subject: Feathers!

  • Feathers serve many roles: insulation, aerodynamic power for flight, communication, camouflage, swimming, and display- to name a few. A fully developed feather is dead. No nourishment or maintenance is needed, except for preening and bathing. Kind of like human hair. Except, most birds don't use peroxide on their feathers...
  • Ostrich feathers are harvested when the bird is ready to molt, so the plucking of the feathers doesn't cause the animal any harm at all. I mention this fact only as a means to clear my burlesque dancer conscience. We use a lot of ostrich feathers.
  • The red pigmant in feathers of some birds comes from what they eat. Females are usually attracted to males with brighter red plumage because it shows that they know how to eat. I'm attracted to men with beer guts for the same reason.
  • The bird with the most feathers is the Whistling Swan. They can have as much as 25,000 feathers during the winter. Lucky!
  • The longest feather in the world belonged to an ornamental chicken in Japan that was breed in 1972, He had a tail feather of 10.59m long- that's a little over 34 feet for us Yanks. I'm not going to lie, I'm coveting that feather. That would make one hell of a burlesque costume...
  • Feathers are evolved from scales and are made of B-Keratin protien. In fact, birds still have both scales and feathers. You can see the scales on their legs and feet. 
  • The peacock feather is seen as good luck in most countries around the world. In fact, peacock feathers were used by royalty and to swear on a peacock feather was the same as taking a solemn oath. Marie Antoinette wore peacock feathers often. They were not so lucky for her.
  • In some areas of the world, like Eastern Europe, peacock feathers are seen as a sign of bad luck. They represented the feathers worn by invading Mongol warriors.
  • The feathers of a peacock have given it the nickname, "The Bird of 100 Eyes," and superstition claims that the bird is able to see all hidden acts. For this reason, the bird is not permitted to walk accross the threshold of a home in some areas of the world.
But, I'm going to believe that the feathers are good luck, because I've got to sell some earrings here...

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