Editor’s Note: All birds have feather-groups (areas) above and below where the tail-feathers are attached to the bird’s body. They slightly or marginally overlap that connection-point. Because the coverts hide that connection, they are called coverts or,”to hide”.  Elaine is carving her second Bald Eagle for her  second son who is to  soon-to-become  an Eagle Scout. Her first Bald Eagle was carved for her first son and given to him likewise at his induction ceremony as an Eagle Scout last year. Two Eagle Scouts and Two Eagles; makes sense to me! Now, particularly for those Eagle Carvers among us, on to today’s E-Mailed Inquiry about Eagle Carving from Elaine:

Original Question:

Hi Bill,

According to the book (Denny Roger’s “The Illustrated “Bald Eagle”),  “Maggi’s Bloomers” (Under-tail coverts) are small fluffy round feathers – page 17.  Are the feathers on the top back the same small round fluffy feathers.  I’m thinking not so much since we didn’t put in the bumps to promote fluffiness as on the underside.  Is the top side all the same type feathers down to where the tail is inserted?
I put 4 body bumps on the underside behind the legs.  That looks like too much space for all white small fluffy feathers.  So where do I start with the small feathers, perhaps the last two bumps?  The front two tiers with the large round ones?  The book does not show the top back very well since it is a closed winged bird.
Ever so much thanks,

Bill’s Answer:

Hi Elaine: Your question is wise and well-based; insomuch as reference data/pics on the complete areas, above and below, the Eagles rear-body, covered by “coverts” are rarely  glimpsed. I feel we did a good job on our Eagles 2 & 3 on that score. The upper-tail coverts are white and extend on our 2/5S Eagle carving several inches from the base (not the tip) of the tail, to where the wings are attached. The forward edge of the upper and the lower covert-covered areas, also white, is sort-of “floating” meaning that it flexes slightly as the Eagle’s posture or flying stance contorts and adjusts. The under-tail coverts, also white, actually extend from the tail’s base to, and right at the rear edge of the legs. The area is sort-of shaped like the state of IL. , a blunted-V, narrowing towards the head of the  Eagle. Carefully examine length & shapes of all feathers in all areas, they differ significantly; even with-in the coverts.  Closely examine the references from feather-line to feather-line. We’ll sketch these in when next you’re here. Or, surprise me! It’s an urban-myth that this isn’t rocket science!  hehe…Thanks for asking…..B.

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3