Dead duck diaries

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 5 January 2011 20:09

OK, the upper of the two feathers shown above is one of the feathers I displayed yesterday and assumed to be a wing feather. Mark Telfer pointed out that they looked like tail feathers so I compared it to some Mallard tail feathers that I collected and mounted as a kid (there wasn't much to do in Staffordshire). Look what I was doing when I was 15!
Anyway, it looks a pretty good match in terms of the proportions. The pointed tip is different (more worn perhaps?) and the feather is clearly darker but roughly similar. I think that this bird could well have been a dark farmyard Mallard brought, in part, from a neighbouring farm by a Fox. The pointed feathers possibly suggesting the tail of a bird kept in captivity? Alternatively, a duck perhaps a little smaller than a Mallard. I am convinced now that they are tail feathers though. Any more thoughts anyone?

I promised to include a photograph of Bittern and Green Woodpecker feathers too as these were  species you suggested, here you go:

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