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bigcitycrows251 karma

Explanation for those passing by: In the USA, because pretty much every native bird is a federally protected species, in order to satisfy demand among Native American tribes for the feathers, talons, heads, etc. of such protected birds (especially birds of prey) there are national feather banks set up. Legally collected remains are sent to those banks and distributed, free of charge, to Natives who want them.

I volunteer at a bird of prey rescue that is blessed with five unreleasable bald eagles. Every time I open them up in the morning I take care to collect any shed feathers so we can send them to the National Eagle Repository. When we get in fatally wounded bald eagles who unfortunately die, we carefully package the remains in our freezer so they can also be transported out, as whole bald eagles are one of the most popular requests by Natives who use them in religious ceremony.

In this way, the goal is to reduce pressure to poach or illicitly obtain parts of endangered or vulnerable species. Why pay for a poached one when you can get one that died anyway for free?

bigcitycrows140 karma

What's the weirdest non postcard secret you've ever received?

Ooh, answer this one, answer this one!

bigcitycrows68 karma

That's because of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and I could talk for ten straight minutes about just this subject! Many people see it as a superflous law, but even though it may be due for an update it came about for good reason.

The tl;dr of why it's illegal to keep found bald eagle feathers is this: there's no way to tell which ones were naturally shed and which ones were poached.

Both the honest man and the poacher are going to say they found the dead eagle or found the stray feather. Instead of trying to root through everything, they just put it on lockdown- this was especially necessary for endangered species, where by the time they've sorted it out, half the population could be gone. If it's something like a blue jay feather, even though that's also technically illegal you're very unlikely to actually get in trouble. But with eagle parts, there's still a dangerous (for the eagles) demand for their parts, not just among Native Americans, so they take it much more seriously.

The main thing they want to prevent is commercial (or monetary) exchange of remains. That's why the laws were enacted in the first place. It isn't one guy picking up found feathers that decimates species, it's the remains themselves becoming profitable...at which point people start harvesting not-so-naturally shed feathers. This is also why the consequences are much steeper if you're somebody selling whole dead bald eagles than they are if you're somebody with one dusty bald eagle feather in your little jar of feathers you found while hiking, for instance.

If it's obvious you're just some guy who found one and thought it was pretty, you're very unlikely to be bothered more than someone advising you to let it blow away in the wind; but if a poacher is found, he could be charged for, say, each eagle feather he's got.

bigcitycrows65 karma

Maybe. I feel a bit cheap knowing so many people just click the photo and don't read the story, but here in comments like this I'm glad to, because it's been such a wonderful experience and I love spreading The Bird Gospel.

Here are two of my favorites that I've taken:

Isiah, who has one crushed wing but doesn't let that slow him down

and here's Stumpy, a juvenile female bald eagle that my mentor trained to hunt so that she could be released back into the wild.

I don't have any pictures of the box-of-eagle-feathers I've been hoarding (at the rescue...it would be quite illegal for me to take them home), but they look like this and I feel like some kind of mythic messenger when I am collecting them up.

bigcitycrows45 karma

I buy cold-process homemade goat milk soap from my favorite homesteader, so I'm

  1. Not affiliated with OP, but
  2. Can totally attest that if his soap is anything like the goat's milk soap I have been using, it is super duper!

A lot will change based on the "flavor" of soap (what other ingredients, like activated charcoal or essential oils, are added) but even with a plain bar of goat milk soap (one of which I am currently using as my standard bathroom hand soap) the difference is plain.

I have mild acne, eczema, dandruff, you name it. Not like "Hunchback of Notre Dame", repel-people-when-they-see-me stuff, but seriously it was a pain in my self-esteem and my hands, during a breakout, would be so painful even if nobody could tell without looking very closely.

Ivory soap didn't work. Burt's Bees didn't work. When I used average store-bought bottled bullshit shampoo, my hair and skin were dry from it and would just get worse. Drying out my skin made it produce more oil...so, vicious cycle.

The goat milk soap was like taking a bath in warm silk. I seriously look forward to my showers now, I use a loofah and it just makes such a soft, rich lather, I love using a different 'flavor' based on where I'm going that day.

My acne has obviously reduced, I no longer have big, obvious zits and many days my face looks, well, like it doesn't have acne at all! My eczema is much better, I mean MUCH.

Since I started using the goat's milk soap and actively avoiding stuff that's like "scented fake strawberry bullshit that strips your hands of everything" my skin's cleanliness, scalp health, and hair health/appearance has just gone slowly and steadily up, and now I don't over-produce oil to compensate for the loss from harsher stuff.

tl;dr I fookin' love goat milk soap and only use it now.

Also, one bar lasts a damn long time if you don't leave it in the shower with you. Money-wise I feel like it's expensive up-front, but longterm worth it.