Feather: What You Should Know

Birds have feathers instead of hair. A feather is made of keratin, the same substance that dander and fingernails are made of. All the feathers together form the plumage. This is something like the dress of the birds. Dinosaurs had feathers too. It is not known exactly how and why feathers developed. What is known, however, is that down-like feathers first appeared. This is how dinosaurs, which had no hair, kept themselves warm. Therefore, one suspects that at the beginning especially young, small dinosaurs had feathers. Feathers with which the animals could fly only developed over time.

When it comes to springs, one thinks primarily of contour springs. They have a long and solid keel that is hollow. In the case of down feathers, this shaft is only short. Contour feathers are important for flying, down keeps the bird warm. Feathers can look very different. Molting is a time when birds lose their feathers in order for new ones to grow.

Feathers often contain dyes called pigments. They give a feather or part of a feather a primary color. But bird feathers can be much more colorful than, for example, our hair. This is because the feathers have very small structures in the feathers. They break the light and thus create colorful and iridescent surfaces. Birds can also produce more and different pigments than we can. Thanks to the colors, birds can better hide in the landscape. Or the colors are very striking so that birds of the same species can see each other well or make an impression on each other. Males in particular do this to please the females.

People like to take feathers from birds to keep them warm, for example as a filling in a blanket. You also like to fill pillows with feathers because the pillow is so soft and cuddly. Down jackets keep us particularly warm in winter.

Feathers can also be used to make an arrow fly better. In the past, quills were used for writing: In the past, it was a quill made from a goose quill. Today it has become the fountain pen made of metal.

Also, some people adorn themselves with bird feathers. For example, Native Americans in central North America often wore a feather bonnet on their heads during wartime. Bonnets with eagle feathers were particularly popular. Even if these Indians are no longer warriors today, they sometimes still wear the feather headdress at festivals.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *