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The Feather Thief

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The Feather Thief
I just finished a non fiction book "The Feather Thief" by Kirk Wallace Johnson. It is about a fly tier stealing rare bird skins from a museum, however, a lot of new history facts that I found fascinating. I highly recommend if you haven't read it.

Robin
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
Hey Robin, this book sound interesting. When Bev and I moved to New Mexico and found the great diversity of birds that travel though or make this area their home, I was, at the time, studying hummingbirds. When you go through 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of nectar per day feeding hummers, that is no small feat in consumption. It would stagger your imagination just to try and visualize how many birds it would take to consume 3 gallons of nectar---

To get back on track, while reading one day, I read with great interest what some of the Spanish galleons had aboard their ships as they left South or North America, going back to Spain. It seems that these explorers saw hummingbirds and had to be astonished with them. They began bringing hummer skins back. As the royalty saw them, they began having capes made from these skins. On one ship, they were carrying tens of thousands of hummer skins.

I wonder what those capes must have looked like and how did they stitch them back then?

To change that subject, whenever I shoot a drake wood duck, I have a bag to put the feathers from the flanks under the wings. My friend using them when he ties trout flies. He loves fishing for trout in northern NM and CO.
Al
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
I also recommend "The Feather Thief". I had no idea until I read this book that demand by fly tiers had created an illicit market for rare bird feathers.

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Dwight Harley: Jul 12, 2019, 4:36 PM
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
Add my recommendation. I was well aware of the demand for rare feathers, and even know the individual who taught the "Feather Thief" to tie salmon flies--he lives near me and I see him at fly fishing events a few times a year. But the depth the of the addiction to rare feathers was a surprise.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
Great book. The historical source of the birds' skins is fascinating.
James Woods
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
Yes they said there was a cape of 8000 hummingbird skins.
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
I guess to me, a very interesting question is, did the punishment fit the crime? (No jail time if I recall correctly.) According to the author, the perpetrator lacked any remorse. If I also recall correctly, it was a wholly premeditated and reasonably well planned crime. So what is the punishment for a youthful fly tier, who steals rare and historically important bird skins, collected by remarkable men, and sells them to many who are probably accessories after the fact having knowledgeably received them, denied receipt and used them.
James Woods
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Re: The Feather Thief In reply to
Great observation, and I would love to ask another question but I?m afraid it might spoil the book for those who haven?t read it yet.
I will PM you.