It's late summer, breeding season is wrapping up, and birds are starting to molt, replacing their worn out feathers with new fresh feathers to face the winter ahead. And as I walk my yard, I find many of their spent feathers littering the ground.
Many of the feathers are quite worn while others are in seemingly great shape. But they're all beautiful in their own way. Some are easy to tell what kind of bird wore them, others I just can't tell. I imagine many are from adult birds who have just finished their nesting season. Oh, the stories those feathers could tell! But the rigors of breeding can be rough on a coat of feathers, and with winter ahead, feathers need to be in tip top shape.
So out they go, methodically (most of the time) dropping out while being replaced with pristine new feathers. The outcasts temporarily mark the bird's presence before breaking down and returning to the earth. So until then, I let the feathers lie, enjoying that splash of color in the grass or the movement created by a downy feather waving in the breeze.