Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 02/14/2011

“I am very happy with my order of red tailed hawk feathers. They are really beautiful tail feathers. The condition of the feathers was awesome. I expected to wait a couple of months before receiving my order. I can’t wait to make a fan with these feathers. As soon as I’m finished making the fan I will send y’all a picture. I would like to thank you all very much at Liberty Wildlife for my feathers and for what you all do for our feathered family.”

This is just one of many communications we have had with “customers” of our Non-Eagle Feather Repository. For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll remember that we are part of a pilot program (only one of two in the nation) that enables Native Americans from federally recognized tribes to obtain non-eagle feathers to use in cultural, religious and healing practices.

Let me give you a few statistics. Since we opened in October, 2010 we have received 125 legal requests. Of those requests we have been able to fill 88 so far. There are 6 awaiting approval to send from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We have been seeking help from other rehabilitators to help us fill orders for species that we rarely see like anhingas. We have 8 outstanding requests for these birds whose feathers are often used in the Native American Church. We have had requests for scissortail flycatcher tails which is another bird not found in our area. We are currently looking for these in other parts of the country where they are found. There are outstanding requests for mature red tailed hawk tails, our most common request. Also listed in the waiting list are caracaras, osprey, red shafted and golden flicker feathers and swan wings.

We have even had requests for non native birds like Macaws, hornbills, and cockatoo feathers. We have relationships with the Zoological Society of San Diego to assist us with molted feathers from their collection. Also, local aviculturists are saving feathers for us so that we will be able to meet some of the non-native requests. If you are reading this now and know of other legally held feather sources, we would love to hear about them.

Our repository staff members have become pros at identifying and assembling tails and wings from molted feathers and that is no simple task (see This Week at Liberty). Each tail or wing has its own unique characteristic which might include unusual barring, spotting, or coloring. One of the guiding principles of our repository is to only send quality feathers, parts or carcasses. We will operate by that principle as we know how important it is for each person to receive the feathers that will satisfy the critical need of the ceremony or religious practice.

“Last night I arrived to find the beautiful feathers. I have much respect and love for the ones here who hunt communally. It took some of the disappoint away, as illness kept me away from the ceremony. Thank You so much for bringing us a pathway for these feathers. I remember wanting these kinds of items and being offered them, it was a talon in a filthy bandana that has kept me from having a fan for 20 years. I felt that the poor being was much disrespected to be harvested and offered to a total stranger like it was nothing. Today, I see how worth the wait has been. I can fashion my medicine knowing these feathers have found their right place in a right way. Thanks to everyone whose efforts made this possible.

To All My Relations,

This note from another “customer” shows us that our efforts are worth it all…enough said! Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day


Healing Trees said...

it would be fabulous if you added a social media widget to your blog then we could like it on facebook etc - good for you with the feather repository!

Liberty Wildlife Blog said...

Good suggestion! Scroll to the bottom - it has been done as you requested!