Methods in the Art of Taxidermy

by Oliver Davie Published in 1900

Feathered Tracts and Unfeathered Spaces in Birds

Although the feathers of a bird layover each other like shingles on a roof it does not follow that they grow everywhere up on the skin. Feathers grow in tracts with bare spaces between. A uniform and continuous feathering, however, occurs in some birds as, in the ostriches, penguins, and toucans. Some birds, to be sure, are naked about the head or feet.

Feathered Tracts

Figures A and B in our plate are taken from a specimen of the Flicker Colapes auratus, A representing the under portion and B the upper part of the bird's feath­ering. Fig. 1 is the capital tract which clothes the head and generally joins the dorsal and ventral tracts. Fig. 2, alar tract, all the feathers which grow on the wing, except the humeral tract. Fig. 3, humeral tracts, being the place where the beginner often fails to make the feathers of the shoulders lay as they do life, caused chiefly by making the artificial body too full at this point. Fig. 4, spinal or dorsal tract, running along the middle of the bird from above the nape of neck to the tail, subject to great variation. Fig, 5, femoral tracts, band upon outside of each thigh, subject to great variation. Fig. 6, leg tract covers the legs as far as these are feathered, gen­erally to the heel, always below the, knee and sometimes to the toes as in many owls. Fig. 7, ventral tract, the plumage along the belly and under parts commencing at or near, and frequently running into the dorsal tract, but subject to great variation in forms. Fig. 8, the tail or caudal tract, includes the feathers of the tail, their coverts and those about the elreodochon, and usually join the termination of the dorsal, ven­tral and femoral tracts. Fig. 9, represents the salivary glands so wonderfully devel­oped in woodpeckers.