Plucked Feathers


(1) Label small envelope (4 1/4" x 2 1/2" or 11cm x 6 1/2cm) with the bird's ID code/number, location of capture (either lek or closest lek), date, and sex of individual (if known)

(2) Pluck individual feathers from the bird (do not yank out clumps of feathers). All of the plucked feathers from one bird can go in the same envelope. Seal the envelope with a small piece of tape.

(3) Keep feathers as cool as possible and out of the sun

(4) Store at room temperature

**** The best feathers to get DNA out of are blood feathers/pin feathers which are the primaries (wing feathers) or remiges (tail feathers) during the summer and early fall because they contain blood. Once the blood dries up, the quality of DNA decreases to same level as other contour feathers.

****Plucked body contour feathers have a moderate amount of DNA (2-3 are required for each DNA extraction) and down contains very little DNA (8-10 down feathers are required for each DNA extraction).