"Puddle Geese" ... from 'To Scotland and Back' collection
Currently available through
Fusions Gallery in Ocean Shores WA
I strongly advise that if you are going to collect and use feathers, use those from domesticated birds or feathers that you have purchased from a craft supplier. It's not a good idea to use the feathers you find in the wild, and in many cases may be illegal. I wanted to track down some cases for this, and have found some information to share with you.
This, from a question to California Fish and Game:
I recently learned that in order to collect feathers that I would need a license. I hike mainly in the Baylands along the San Francisco Bay and every so often I see a feather that would look good in my hat. In any season I may collect five to 10 feathers total. The bulk of these might be egret or turkey vulture feathers. How should I proceed in order to remain legal?
Answer:Both of the birds you list are protected species. According to Capt. Phil Nelms (ret.), under both California and U.S. fish and wildlife laws, dead wildlife and its parts have the same protection as the animals do when alive. This protection also extends to all of the pieces and parts of animals. If it is illegal to possess the whole bird it is also illegal to possess any portion of it (e.g. feather, talon, leg, etc.)
I would recommend collecting feathers from birds which have a hunting season. Turkeys and upland game birds like pheasants and quail have beautiful feathers which you may find in your outdoor treks! You are allowed to possess game birds and though their take is regulated, you are allowed to possess their parts.
Native birds that are birds of prey or migratory are all protected. Migratory birds protection has been in place since the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918 which not only makes it illegal to possess these birds, either living or dead, but also includes any of their feathers and parts and also their eggs.
Would you like to learn more about the legalities of possessing feathers? I found a great webpage that teaches you everything you need to know!
Oh, and a little-known fact... I don't know if it's nationwide or just here in Washington State, but crows are protected. They fall under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act! Please, don't pick up a crow feather, it could get you into trouble.
This all is exactly why I only use the feathers of domesticated 'barnyard' birds!