If any of you know me, you know I love to watch birds. So my fascination with feathers is not a surprise. To be clear, I also know that most birds are protected and the only feathers that are legal are domestic bird feathers or feathers from "sporting" birds. Most feathers I use for decorating are turkey feathers, although friends will share pheasant feathers or beautiful rooster tail feathers. Peacock feathers are also quite wonderful to have for just filling a vase and allowing a breeze from the window or door to move them around, they are so beautiful.
A number of years ago we had a friend that owned peacocks. I loved watching them move around the farm where they lived, fanning their tails and I was always amazed to see them roosting on top of the barn. Seeing big birds like that on top of a roof is just unnatural for some reason.
The farmers don't look as kindly toward these feathered friends, they don't like them roosting on their parked trucks, they hate the manure that mounds up on hay or straw in the barn when they roost on the rafters. There was always this "thing" that went on between the farmer and the peacocks.
One day my husband and our friend were on the farm with peacocks, they were repairing a fence or gate. There was one peacock that insisted on stalking these two men. He would come up behind them and maybe even charge them and the men were not at all comfortable with this happening. So our friend picked up a board to shoo the bird away and the bird still came back. After several attempts at keeping the peacock away our friend threw the board at the peacock and it made contact............... the bird was killed instantly. Panic from the man who killed the bird, caused him to quickly bag the bird in a trash bag (to hide the evidence) and dispose of it in his trash for pick up.
When I heard the story, I was stunned that no feathers had been saved! Our friend invited me to come and get the bag with the bird inside and take as many feathers as I wanted. And so went to get the black plastic bag out of the trash. My attempt at collecting feathers was harder than I thought, the feathers wouldn't come out easily so I decided to just put the bag with the bird inside the stock trailer for a day and then try to retrieve the feathers. The reason I choose the stock trailer? So nothing would be able get to the bird, we had dogs and cats, they have no qualms about dragging about or rolling in dead things.
Well, you've heard the saying, "out of site, out of mind"? We planned on going to visit family for the weekend over the fourth of July. You know how hot it can be during July. We were swimming and having a great time that weekend. I had no thoughts about something I'd forgotten to do.....
We came home and I was standing at the kitchen window doing dishes. Richard and a neighbor were standing in the barn yard talking. Without hearing a word they were saying, I knew exactly what they were saying by watching them. They booth were sniffing the air and looking around, probably saying, "don't know what that smell is, don't see anything dead." That is when the bell went off in my head! I still had a dead peacock in a black plastic bag in the horse trailer and it has been there about 4 days!
This was a job I knew I was going to have to finish myself. After the men left, I got out a shovel and dug a hole, then took our skid steer to the trailer to move the rotting peacock in the black plastic bag into the bucket. It was a smell like no other! I knew there was no way I was going to have any peacock feathers from this bird. I don't know to this day how I managed to move this black plastic bag and take it to it's proper grave.
The horses were suspicious the rest of the summer about loading into that trailer. They knew something awful happened in there and they wanted no part of it! I look at peacock feathers a little differently now and really appreciated picking up ones that have been shed naturally.