Fantastic Feathers

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Fantastic Feathers

 

Compared to fur or human hair

feathers are a smart affair.

As down, their fluffy unzipped form

of under-feathers, keeps birds warm.

 

But barbs and barbules, shaft and quill

hide clues to how birds fly with skill.

Their contour feathers, zipped and long

make wafting wings so light yet strong.

 

From dowdy mums to vivid males

with crazy crests and splendid tails;

for camouflage or bright display

feathers have lots of roles to play.

 

by Celia Berrell

First published in Double Helix (September 2015)

Reproduced with permission of CSIRO

www.doublehelix.csiro.au

 

Take Note: from pillows to pens, feathers have helped humans sleep well and become educated!  Recently we learnt that some dinosaurs were feathered too.  Compared to fur, feathers are fascinatingly complex and some are almost magically colourful.  I find feathers fabulously beautiful.

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