Canada Goose vs Bald Eagle Feather Question

Submitted by BK on 05/15/2003. ( )

I was wondering if somebody could help me identify a feather I have.

I believe it to be a covert wing feather of a bald eagle, but the color is so close to canada goose, it makes me wonder. The feather is 10 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, perfectly symmetrical, dark brown in color with a very very fluffy white plume at the base. The plume is beautiful and is almost as wide as my hand.

Are ALL Bald Eagle feathers half dark and half light? Or are the covert feathers all brown with white plume? Do bald eagle covert feathers even have a plume at the base? It seems too big of a covert feather to be a goose and it has no curve to it- it almost lays flat and is not bent to either right or left direction.


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This response submitted by George on 05/15/2003. ( )

First, it doesn't sound like a covert feather being that large. More likely a secondary wing feather
Two, Bald eagle feathers tend to be a dull chocolate color (like Canadas) with a margin of gold or slightly lighter feathers.
Three, The quill fluff is normal as a barrier to climate (Ever notice an Indian headdress?)
and Four, (I'm adding this for all those that DON'T know)unless you are a card carrying Indian using it for religious ceremonies or have a collection permit, it is illegal to possess the feather of any of the raptors.

Yes, Chocolate color

This response submitted by BK on 05/15/2003. ( )

Thank you, yes it is chocolate color moving to light right near the base and a broad white plume...

Yes, it is going to my girlfriend who has her certificate for eagle feathers..

oh yeah.. gold margin

This response submitted by BK on 05/15/2003. ( )

Sorry- forgot to add-

The gold margin you mention- I can only see it from a certain angle- with the feather hanging downward- and its not very much of a margin, just a faint trimming along the edge. If I put the feather against a white sheet of paper, the margin seems to disappear

Might be a scapular

This response submitted by Nancy M. on 05/16/2003. ( )

It sounds like it could very well be an eagle feather. From the way you describe it as flat and straight, I think it sounds like one of the larger scapular feathers.
Bald eagle feathers have a LOT of downy fluff. Even most of their primary feathers have some near the base. The secondaries have quite a bit of it, as do the body feathers.

Canada Goose

This response submitted by Liz on 05/16/2003. ( )

If it is a Canada goose feather, there will be an area of tegmen around the rachis of the feather. It is a shimmery, waxy looking substance that is on the feather along both sides of the rachis (the shaft). This is found in waterfowl.

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