A eagle has over 7000 feathers. The largest are the primaries (the 5 feathers at the end of the wing) and the Tail feathers of which there are 12.

Finding a Tail feather is suppose to bring good luck to the finder. Once you find a tail feather put it in a place where nobody else can touch it. It needs to have just your energy on it.


  1. Ignore that mess above! I’m having technical difficulties copying links today. The essence of it is it is illegal for anyone but Native Americans to possess shed eagle feathers. The fine, if caught, is up to $100,000 and a year in jail….

      1. I believe it. Americans are assholes. Sorry for the slip, but there are an awful lot of people in this country who think they are exceptions to the rules and laws who don’t consider the consequences of owning those feathers or driving five mph over the speed limit sorts of transgressions and outright illegal actions. Then, there are people like me who would gladly turn people like that in. For that matter, I know I am likely to speed if I don’t use the cruise control, so am a religious user of this tool. Rule of law supposedly is the American way, but I say finding ways to circumvent it is the American game because “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is interpreted to mean, no law can hold you back if it interferes with your perception of what those three words mean ! You know, “Live Free or Die”, the New Hampshire state motto, is something like the unofficial US motto for many Americans. A gun on everyone’s hip and mass shootings will go away because “a good guy with a gun will take out the bad guy”! (A notion that probably would result in lots of deaths to “friendly fire”….) Wow! Did your comment set off a rant on my part!

      2. You are the kind of American that use to be in the majority Doug. Hard working and law abiding and respectful.
        More people on the planet means more competition,which means people will take when they can. A break down in the social fabric. I would not want to be born in this time.
        Ya,hearing the NRA saying MORE guns is what we need out there is a joke! They forget most humans react emotionally not logically.
        I wish I could go back in time and go slap the faces of the people who drew up that 2nd amendment! They should never of allowed the common man to have firearms and unrestricted at that I might add!
        Glad I could help you get that off your chest……now go give Andy a treat from me please!

    1. I looked into owning a eagle feather in Canada Doug and it appears your right! The Migratory act was signed by both countries.
      Many eagles were (and are) being shot by ranchers and poachers in both countries! I know of at least accounts of dead eagle bodies were dumped with missing talons and primary/tail feathers. The black market trade for ceremonial purposes is thriving because those feathers can fetch big bucks!

      1. Several years ago, a local artist found Great Horned owl feathers at the local cemetery. They were shed feathers under a regularly used nest I remember well since I visited the cemetery annually to see when the owls nested and raised their families. (Late February!) Anyway, the Nebraska Game and Parks people learned about her collected feathers and visited her shop to read her the riot act and to confiscate the feathers! She was fortunate in that she just got bawled out because the fine and jail time, as noted, can be pretty hefty. Also, because Golden eagles and juvenile Bald eagles can be confused, game “cops” are especially vigilant and unforgiving of ranchers who kill them.

      2. Two subjects here,the first being the cemetery feather and the second being ranchers.
        A problem does not occur with people keeping the feathers,the problem is Ranchers and poachers killing them for their feathers/parts. The public gets swept up in the visionless policing.

  2. I learned about the feathers a long time ago when we attended a bird migration event through Audubon in Marin County, CA.. A sharp-shinned hawk had been let go after getting banded and a few feathers (tiny ones) went flying as the bird took off. One of our kids went for the feather and was then scolded by someone about it being illegal. He was maybe 5 or 6 years old. He gave the feather to the guy in charge who ended up letting him keep it. I think it’s a good law as so many people disrespect nature and rules in general. I love your photograph!

    1. I knew that selling or going across the border was illegal but didn’t realize just having one is considered the same as owning an assault rifle!…….Actually I stand corrected,one can own assault rifles that murder thousands each year but they cannot have a feather!
      Ranchers and poachers don’t care. They still shoot to kill Eagles each year. They cut off their talons and harvest the sellable feathers. Those rules are meant for honest people not thieves and murders.
      There is a running joke in the eagle world……”there are more eagles in the dens of Americans then in America”.
      That statement is true btw. They did a study on eagles nests in BC and Washington State. They found very few in Washington State but many in BC. Eagles were almost wiped out by ranchers and poachers,and lets not forget about DDT and what it did as well. How they ever survived is a miracle!

      1. Don’t get me started on guns! 😬 America has always been a violent society and it seems to be getting worse by the day. People just don’t seem to care and do what they want. Some poach wildlife, others take their anger out in public by killing other humans with their bullets or even their cars. I don’t know why picking up a feather would be punished so harshly when it didn’t involve harming the bird. Hopefully people come to their senses one of these days, but I’m not holding my breath.

      2. Well said Sabine and I agree with you 100%. So would Doug I bet!
        Come to their senses….oh Sabine you are a breath of fresh air! As the population increases so will the violence increase.
        One of the reasons why I’m in Tofino is to get away from cities. Tofino has community which is something big cities cannot have! I’ve always said a town should only be as big as the number of faces the average person can recognize. Cities are unsustainable and as such an unhealthy environment. I do not know where you are (Oregon?) but I hope it’s in a small town as well.

      3. Thanks Wayne! It’s not always easy to express my opinion on the violence and gun craziness of this country. Some people get quite defensive and upset! I’m in the Portland, Oregon suburbs and just came across an article in the local newspaper about the number of homicides here in Portland this year (2022): 36 homicides just this year from January 1st until May 31st!! Seems like not a day goes by anymore without any shootings. When we first moved here this kind of stuff didn’t happen all the time. We’ve been looking around for a more peaceful place for a while but haven’t found it. But I do feel very safe in our neighborhood and immediate surrounding areas.

  3. Yes, there are 12 tail feathers. I can see them clearly on your photograph. He’s a lot bigger in my minds eye now I know how bigger those talons are!

  4. Awesome photo Wayne, it really shows their uniqueness. Their beauty by design I say. I don’t have any feathers of any bird, I have seen my cat playing with a feather if she finds one. A truly amazing feather I used to have was from our Peacocks we had on the farm. Now that is a feather, :)

  5. Gorgeous photography, Wayne. Eagle feathers aside, I am a proud American who grew up visiting and respecting our national parks. My children and their friends beg to vacation in the NPs because of their love of nature instilled by my parents, my grandparents and on…never would I ever kill a creature or pick a flower for the sake of a souvenier. Hell hath a special place for those that do.

      1. That’s amazing – I wonder if they lose all their feathers each year? Soon the geese will be gone from the Park as I’ve seen big flight feathers all over the place.

      2. No, they’d truly be “bald” then. Joey our parakeet, and canaries Buddy and Sugar would lose all their feathers over a six-week period. The tail feather was the first to go, then wing feathers. The downy feathers were the worst … they’d hop from perch to perch and feathers would fly around when they moved, into the water cup, the seed cup. They were lethargic the entire time and with the canaries, they don’t sing as it takes a lot of energy. We/I had a cassette recorder and taped the singing in their heyday so they could hear it and be encouraged to sing again. The singing didn’t usually happen for another six weeks. It was a lengthy process.

      3. They don’t lose them all at once, but when they can’t fly, they stay near water until all their flight feathers grow back. I saw a group of Mallards in eclipse phase when I took one of those boat trips and they were pointed out to us. We were told they were far away from shore as it was their safe haven.

      4. Well, there can’t be any ground predators around with them doing that?
        I’m not totally happy with birds being caged. My thinking is If you want a pet it should have a huge area to fly about! Most cages are small for the humans convenience, but not big enough for the birds needs

      5. Maybe no ground predators that want to swim out that far in the lake or river to nab a duck or goose? Funny you say that about the caged bird because there was a post in one of our City’s two Facebook Community Forums. One’s for crime and the other forum is just general, a lot of missing pets. About two weeks ago someone took a picture of a cockatiel in her yard and said “if you’re missing a bird, it is in my yard right now but I don’t have a cage – how do I trap it?” A person in the forum said “oh, that’s my parents’ bird – it is allowed to go where it wants to and always knows to go home and then they take it in the house.” People were appalled that someone should let a domestic bird roam about on its own.

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