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Sunday, 25 January 2015



When a Roman aristocrat had eaten his fill at a banquet, he would get a slave to dangle a feather down his throat so that he could be sick and make room for more food.

Edward the Black Prince was awarded the crest of John having distinguished himself at the Battle of Crécy.  His crest shows three ostrich feathers and has been carried by every Prince of Wales since. From this comes the phrase "A feather in ones cap".

In 1495 The English Parliament passed a statute regulating the content of bed stuffing, requiring that it be good, clean feathers, not dirty old horse hair.

In 1507, John Damian, court alchemist to James IV of Scotland, built himself a pair of wings and tried to fly from the ramparts of Stirling Castle. He hit the ground and broke his leg, blaming it on his use of feathers from fowl unused to flying.

Swans provided the best feathers for quill pens, although geese were more commonly used.

Research has found that Native American tribes rarely ate turkeys—they raised the large birds for their coveted feathers.

From the early 17th to early 19th centuries, golf was played with a ‘featherie’ ball- a hand-sewn cowhide bag stuffed with goose feathers and painted.  Tightly-packed feathers made balls that flew the farthest.

The song “Yankee Doodle” was invented by the British to insult American colonists. The section where Doodle puts a feather in his cap and calls it macaroni is slap at the ragged bands of American troops.


All birds have feathers: every creature with feathers is a bird.

Typical garden birds have about 3,000 feathers

Swans have the most feathers of all birds, with the Arctic-breeding tundra variety kept warm by more than 25,000.

A duck feather weighs approximately .016 to .063 grams.

If a bald eagle loses a feather on one wing, it'll shed a corresponding feather on the other to stay balanced.

Thanks to their feathered legs and toes and feathered nostrils, grouse are among the few animals that can survive in Arctic regions.

The barn owl’s secret weapon is its exceptional hearing, which enables it to locate its prey in pitch darkness. Its face feathers create a disc, which traps and focuses sound.

Not only do barn owls' feathers allow completely silent flight, they are also super soft to touch. But unlike ducks, they're not waterproof. The drawback of soft, poofy feathers? Barn owls can't fly, let alone hunt, in the rain.

The tail feathers of birds-of-paradise  are so black that they absorb 99.95% of all light, just .01% less than the blackest human-made nanomaterial, and help make brightly-colored patches stand out more during mating dances.

Peahens choose the male peacock with the biggest and most spectacular feathers. He usually has a harem of several hens.

Newborn penguins do not have waterproof feathers so must wait before going in the water.

Penguins have the highest feather density of any bird, at about 100 feathers per square inch. They are needed to keep them warm.

The tuxedo pattern of a penguin's feathers is a form of camouflage. From above, their dark body blends into the ocean water, from below their white stomachs match the bright sun-lit surface.


Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers.

A 'white feather' meaning a display of cowardice comes from cockfighting and the belief that a cockerel sporting a white feather in its tail is likely to be a poor fighter. Pure-breed gamecocks do not show white feathers, so its presence indicates that the cockerel is an inferior cross-breed with a lack of courage.

It is illegal to collect or possess eagle feathers in the United States, and only enrolled members of a federally recognized Native American tribe may legally possess them.

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