Once again I am stuck indoors. A few weeks ago it was gout now, for some unknown reason, the Achilles tendon on my right foot is giving me grief.
Yesterday I noticed a couple of Collared Doves sat on top of the fruit cage and one spent at least five minutes preening. This is something all birds have to do to keep their feathers in top notch condition. It is fascinating watching them carefully arrange their feathers and zip up their flight feathers by drawing them through their beak.
You can see this happen when the dove works on its tail feathers. Phil at Beyond the Human Eye wrote about the technicalities of this process in his entry Zipping Up a Feather along with some macro photos of a feather. If you find a wing or tail feather you can try the process for yourself. If you gently pull along the feather from tip to quill the sections will separate and when you pull the other way they zip back together.
Further detailed information about feathers can be found at Peteducation.com with explanations of the different types of feather.
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