Collecting Feathers

One of our favorite pastimes while we are out in nature is collecting feathers. Birds are continuously leaving us pieces of their colorful plumage as a reward for spending time outdoors and being present with the earth. 

Looking for items in nature is a great way to become “mindful” and to exist in the moment. We carry so much baggage with us into nature - anxieties, ideas, “what’s for supper”, work, politics, “things to do”...

When you take the time to slow down and look around you, when you immerse yourself in the birdsong and the breeze, you are able to shed some of that mental weight. When you stoop to pick up a feather, you inherently become more in tune with your surroundings. That is exactly the feather’s purpose. 

Collecting Feathers - Personal Rewilding

You may have noticed that feathers almost always come in the form of a surprise. You don’t find feathers, they find you! They will find you in unlikely locations such as bus stops and parking garages or seed themselves camouflaged amongst grasses and leaves.  

The spotting of a feather, however, is never coincidental. It is always a call to pause and reflect, to pull your thoughts upward from the earth. Collecting feathers is an uplifting experience.

A Symbolic Gift

Throughout history, feathers have been associated with the element of air. 

The element air symbolizes freedom, divinity, and imagination. Therefore, you can safely  assume that a feather is asking you to ponder, soar, and create with its offering. 

Connecting with nature is experienced through the mind, body, and spirit. And if you are collecting feathers, you are actively participating in a deeper, more cognitive experience within nature and your own life. 

Collecting feathers is a fun way to acquire something tangible in your outings. Like any collection, you’ll quickly start to accumulate. What better way to accumulate memories than collecting feathers as a keepsake from your hikes, walks and wanderings. 

Collecting Feathers - Personal Rewilding
Collecting Feathers - Personal Rewilding

You’ll be surprised how a feather will strike up nostalgia. They’re memory enducers and sense enhancers. They’ll help you recall the weather on a particular day or the scents you experienced. For us, collecting feathers is honestly a little bit of magic. 

Did you know many indigenous tribes believed feathers were a sign of luck? The color or type of feather that sought you out determined your fortune. This adds one more layer of interest when collecting feathers! 

Here’s a list of what feathers traditionally symbolized:

  • White: Divinity, timing, guidance, hope, fresh start
  • Black: Protection, omen, loss
  • Grey: Neutrality, middle path, peace
  • Yellow: Confidence, action, clarity, positivity
  • Green: Growth, community, abundance
  • Blue: Communication, happiness , awareness, cleanse
  • Brown: Stability, honesty, grounding
  • Red: Strength, passion, inner fire, courage
Decorating with collected feathers - Personal Rewilding

Collecting Feathers: Seeding Creativity

What am I supposed to do with a feather? We’ve been asked that question countless times.

Feathers are nature’s decor. Use them to create your own dreamcatcher or place them like quill pens in a mason jar on the counter and watch the light play off their iridescent hues. 

Add a feather and a bow of twine to a gift as a personal touch or place alongside flowers in a bouquet. Use them as bookmarks. Place them in travel journals or scrapbooks as memories and keepsakes.  The opportunities for creativity are limited only by the imagination. 

Once a feather finds you, lend it your weight to carry. Let it carry your spirit skyward, away from the mundane. 

We’ll leave you with a quote from one of our favorite books of nature writing, Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer:

“They tied blue jay feathers in their pigtails and ate up the summer in heaping spoonfuls like homemade peach ice cream.”