This winter I am taking the second half of a two part ornithology course. The course work is focused on taxonomy and identification, and as such I spend a lot of time in a lab handling specimens, both mounted and study skins. The average birder will tell you that one of the many reasons for the hobby is that birds are beautiful, a fact that I am sure is known to most people. However, birds in the wild are not always sitting still in perfect lighting, so it can be a challenge to fully appreciate their feathers. Thus I thought I would share in an abstract kind of way how handsome and varied the plumage of birds found in eastern North America can be, using the study birds from the lab.
Preferably I would have taken these pictures with a real camera (I used my cellphone), tripod, and better lighting, but I think the beauty of the feathers still shines through.