First: one of the Great Horned Owls has hatched! Here's an owlcam image of mama and the youngster, posted by @SavannahOwls earlier today.
|please left-click to embiggen!|
We're looking down at the top of Mama's head, and she is looking down at the baby, whose little round white fuzzy head is peeking out right above Mama's feathered toes. You can even make out the baby's beak with the egg tooth - pretty sweet!
Second (and you are going to love this): the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been building an online Feather Atlas for North American birds.
|(screenshot from USFWS Feather Atlas)|
This makes so much sense, I can hardly believe it didn't already exist! Maybe something similar is already available in other countries? Perhaps in Britain, where birdwatching (or "twitching") seems to have a long history as a national past-time?
|(Screenshot from Atlas)|
As someone who often picks up a feather and thinks, "Ooh, it's from a hawk! Or...an owl! Or...a duck?" I think this online atlas with it's user-friendly identification tools may be very useful!