Letter

Published on 01 April 1913 in Letters

SIRS,–With reference to the remarks of Messrs. Smalley and Jourdain in your issue of March, 1913, it m a y be of interest to record t h a t I have a nest of a Grey Lag-Goose taken by myself in Sutherlandshire, containing two flank-feathers. They measure approximately 2 | in. in length b y 1 in. at the tip. At the base the coloration is much the same as t h a t of the ” down,” becoming very considerably darker towards the tip, where it assumes a slightly burnished hue, the extreme tip having a small white border. I have also nests of Mallard a n d Shoveler, each containing one flank-feather. A phase of the Tufted Duck ” down ” – feathers appears to have escaped much comment–the usual ” down ” – feathers of this species, so far as m y experience goes, consist of all-white feathers a n d feathers which are greyish at the base and become considerably darker, in some cases almost black, a t the t i p ; b u t in some nests these latter show distinct white tips, varying upwards to approximately – ^ in Mr. Ogilvie-Grant was good enough to examine for me one such example taken from the ” down,” a n d pronounced it to come from the chest of a female. C. S. MEARES. [I quite believe t h a t flank-feathers are found occasionally in nests, a n d no doubt breast-feathers too. The

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