Posts Tagged ‘feathers


Bird’s eye….

“The Sky is falling!” – Chicken Little

chicken, camas, street fair, SwittersB


Bird’s Eye View



Marabou: Excellent Fly Tying Material

brushed leech SwittersB

The macro lens reveals the Marabou tail feather is not of the best quality that I used.

Here is an excellent piece re Marabou feathers by Paul Joergensen at Global Fly Fisher


Fly Tying: Starling & Ostrich Nymph

SB Starling and Ostrich SwittersBStarling & Ostrich Nymph, Size 18 

Ostrich & Starling SwittersB


Photography: Caped Beauty

A cape of hen hackle that shows the beauty of the feathers combined in the whole. In fly tying, individual feathers are pulled from the cape to create effects for wings, legs, tails…suggestions of life and motion in fly pattern design. Here the combined feathers are quite beautiful in this macro shot.

Cape Beauty SwittersB Macro


Ninnie the Cat: Caught with Fur & Feathers!!!

At an ungodly hour this morning, Emma the Dog was very persistent in trying to get me up. Emma has an internal alarm clock for morning chow that is unsettling in its accuracy. This was too early, plus Ninnie the Cat has taken to assisting Emma the Dog in getting me up for morning food by standing on my chest and turning in circles. Ninnie was no where to be seen.

Emma persisted. She must have to go outside. Ugh. Ok, I got up and sleepily wandered downstairs. A rustling sound. Emma stopped and sat. Odd. More rustling sounds. I peered around the corner into the living room where my ‘temporary’ fly tying’ station is arranged.

Whoa!!!! There was Ninnie the Cat knee deep in fur, feathers and tying thread!!! That little @#$&!

Ninnie Tugging Feathers SBThese particular materials had been strewn about yesterday afternoon when I came home from work. I could not identify the culprit at the time (Ninnie or Penny). I stuffed the materials into a bag and stuffed that bag well beneath a heavier object at the bottom of a cardboard box. Well determination and predatory instincts prevailed it appears.

Maybe Emma the Dog was snitching on Ninnie the Cat. Paybacks for her nagging habit of attacking Emma’s always wagging tail?


Momentary Chest Pains………….

hair grizzly

I guess I should explain for the non-fly tier/fisher: A few years ago the hackle industry was overwhelmed with the then fashionable style of long cock feathers blended in with the hair. Less worthy feathers were  used for earrings too. The trend passed and the feathers again became a bit more plentiful in fly shops for tiers. In looking at this above image, I believe the look is actual feathers, but rather the hair colored into a grizzly pattern. I do hope so…..


Fingernails & Hen Hackle Tips

The past few years have shown the styling craze of feather earrings, prime hackle for hair extensions and now, I am told, hen hackle tips are becoming quite the rage for fingernail appliques beneath an acrylic overlay…a form of nail art. What, if any, the impact will be on fly shops, once again, remains to be seen.

Even tonight, I was asked if I could part with any blue dun hen hackle!


Fly Tying Materials: Penny Sorts My Capes

In the mornings, when the birds first start their chirping, Penny the Cat can be found sitting in a window listening, making this little chortling/chirping sound of her own. Her head turns and cants in all directions as she watches the temptations flitting about outside. Because she is a house cat her instincts are perhaps a bit rusty. Remember it was almost a year ago (early June) when Penny the Cat was rescued from atop a tree in my back yard. But, perhaps her instincts aren’t that rusty.

As I came through the door last night, I was met by a feathery sight. Penny ran to me and circled around my legs, rubbing up against my shins as cats do. She walked over amidst the disaster and rolled about in apparent cat bliss.

I really can’t blame anyone but me. This is about the fourth time this has happened. I have gone form capes in gallon freezer bags atop my fly tying station, to inside boxes to under a heavy object. Penny the Cat was successful at extricating two large bags of six capes and assorted loose feathers and spreading her attack not just in the living room, but into the family room and upstairs. I suspect that Harley the Maltipoo had a hand in this two, while Emma the Lab probably snored through it all. 


Fly Tying: A whole wing, what to do?

I recently came by a whole wing from an unidentified bird (outstretched about 18″) which was medium gray in color. It had been cut at the bone (about 3/8″ in diameter). There was flesh around the protruding bone and I could feel what felt like ‘meat/muscle’ in the front section closest to the bone. I was really unclear of how to process this material. Frankly, I have received pheasant capes and skinned rabbits before. The processing results of borax and salt and curing really never turned out very well and waste resulted.

This time, I took heavy kitchen scissors and cut each individual feather away from the connection points as close as I could. In the end, I harvested maybe 40 feathers (primaries, secondaries, primary coverts) that will mostly provides wing material for say a classic wet fly pattern. I am attaching a link on process materials for fly tying. I have frozen deer hair hide in my freezer. They went in somewhat clean but still possessing blood/flesh. I did not process them. I have to contend with that at some point. (Fly Tying & Processing Materials)  There are safety/health/hygiene concerns in handling these materials. Rubber gloves might be a good idea.

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August 2020

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