- Half-day, Friday Afternoon, June 14th, 2019
- Instructor: Pepper Trail
This workshop is an introduction to macroscopic feather identification for wildlife forensics. We will focus first on characters useful for distinguishing major groups, including waterfowl (Anseriformes), gamebirds (Galliformes), raptors (Accipitriformes), owls (Strigiformes), and parrots (Psittaciformes). Knowledge of these characters allows quick recognition of the feathers of non-protected birds such as domestic chickens and ducks, and is very helpful when screening evidence.
We will then focus on species-diagnostic characters for species of particular significance in law enforcement, including both commonly-encountered “legal species” (e.g., chicken, turkey, Ring-necked Pheasant, Reeve’s Pheasant) and protected species (e.g. Bald and Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl, and the macaws). Examples of the feathers of all these birds will be available for examination.
I have been the ornithologist at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory for over 20 years, and created the Feather Atlas of North American Birds (https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/). This web-based feather identification resource will be discussed, as will other reliable on-line image databases for bird and feather identification. I will also provide links to a variety of my feather identification guides, covering pheasants, macaws, eagles, and other groups.