LAMPLIGHT FEATHER, INC.

Your Trusted Supplier of Premium Decorative Feathers since 1973. 

An online feather store since 2001 as www.tonyhill.net

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(via Priority Mail within the USA on orders over $35) 
 

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NEWS AND INFORMATION

check back for important updates about holiday closures and shipping schedules


July 4th holiday Schedule:
 Our office will be closed for a four day holiday weekend. Any orders placed between Wednesday morning, July 3rd, and Sunday Night, July 7th, will ship on Monday July 8th. Thank you for your understanding. Have a Safe and Fun Holiday Weekend!!!



DECEMBER 21 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
:

Due to a severe winter snow storm here in Northern California and major road closures including I-5, there will be no shipments going out today. All current orders will now ship out on Wednesday December 26. Sorry for the delay.


December 24, 2012 -January 1, 2013  Holiday closures and shipping Information:
Our office will be closed and will not be shipping on Monday and Tuesday December 24-25, and Monday and Tuesday December 31-January 1, 2013, in observance of the holidays.
Any orders placed on the website after 8:00 a.m. pst, Friday  December, 21,  will ship on the following Wednesday December 26. 2012.
Any orders placed on the website after 8:00 a.m. pst, Friday  December, 28,  will ship on the following Wednesday January 2, 2013.
 If you must have something shipped on either of these Fridays, You must call the office to place the order before 11:00 am pst and we will do our best to get  your package out for you.
 
To all of our valued customers, we wish you a safe and Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year!

 

  •  .December 2012:
  • Our Lacey Stein and Tommy Gemaelich are the proud parents of an 8 pound 13 ounce boy, Quintin James Gemaelich, delivered on December 11. Lacey will be on maternity leave until February. Congratulations to Lacey and Tommy!
  • November, 2012 Thanksgiving Holiday closure:
Our office will be closed from noon Wednesday,  November 21, through Sunday November 25th, for the Thanksgiving Holiday. We will reopen on Monday November 26th at 8:00 am pst. Order placed between Wednesday the 21st, 8:00 am pst,  and Monday the 26th, 8:00 am pst,  will be shipped on that Monday.

Thank you for you business and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • April, 2012: 
We are pleased to offer FREE SHIPPING, on all domestic orders over $50 using USPS priority Mail. Please see our Shipping Information Page for complete details.
  • December 27, 2011:   

Our new website is up and running! We are still in the process of working out kinks, so if you stumble across anything that is not working, please let us know via email. Also, if you have any suggestions, we are willing to listen!

Holiday closures: We will be closed Friday Noon PST December 30th and re open on Tuesday 8:00 am PST January 3, 2012. Happy New Year!

  • DECEMBER 5, 2011:

December/January Holiday closure information:
Our office will be closed on Friday Noon PST December 24th and will re open on Tuesday December 27th at 8:00 AM PST for the Christmas Holiday. We will also be closed Friday Noon PST December 30th and re open on Tuesday 8:00 am PST January 3, 2012.


EXCITING WEBSITE CHANGES COMING SOON!!!!
We are currently in the process of a total redesign of our website. Look for this to happen sometime during the second half of December. We hope this will be a smooth transition and that we will avoid any major glitches. This new website will allow our Paypal transactions to become integrated into our website and also create a more pleasing website experience.

  • AUGUST 26, 2011:

Our sales office and shipping department will be closed at NOON on Friday August 26 and Friday, September 2 to give our employees some extra time off before our busy Fall season begins. Thanks for your patience. Please contact us through email and we will respond during working hours. We will be open as usual on Monday Aug 29 and regular hours Monday through Thursday. We will be closed from Noon Friday 9/2/11 through Monday 9/5/11 for the Labor Day Holiday. Reopening on Tuesday September 6.

  • AUGUST 16, 2011:

UPDATE: Hill Trading is putting together the material mentioned below and we expect our first delivery on Wednesday 8/17. These items will include long grizzly and mixes in both color and natural.

  • AUGUST 13, 2011:

NEW, PREMIUM QUALITY HAIR EXTENSION FEATHERS COMING!!!

Lamplight has come to an agreement with Hill Trading Company whose stock of long (8 - 16") rooster saddle remains among the best and most extensive remaining in the USA. Most of their stock is premium Whiting hackle... great feathers and a LOT of them. We expect to be receiving a shipment of their carded stock, 6 feathers to the card, and listing it on our site this week. Once we start listing these we do not expect to run out any time soon. As part of the agreement, Hill Trading has set the price per card and they are a little more expensive than we have been listing. But these are feathers of a quality and length we haven't seen since the end of April. Please check back this week to see what is listed.

We continue to add new items and mixes to extend our own product line.


  • JULY 27, 2011

We have temporarily suspended sales of hair extensions feathers so we may once again reassess our stock and get caught up. Please check back next week, Tuesday August 2nd. We thank you for your continued support!
July 23, 2011
With both major producers of long saddle feathers (Whiting and Metz) now announcing there will be no additional stock available until 2012, the overall supply of these feathers continues to shrink. Lamplight continues to have good stock and variety for the time being. We continue to add and subtract new colors, sizes, and mixes on our website listing as we can prepare them for sale to you but please be aware there is a finite supply of this item from all sources through the balance of 2011. At times we may have to advise you that an item is "now sold out" and no longer available. In this case we will fill the balance of your order and refund the difference.


  • JULY 6, 2011

Lamplight Feather will be exhibiting at the Oregon Country Fair near Veneta, Oregon July 7 - July 10 for the 38th consecutive year in our usual location. Look for Tony, Ronda, Cedra, Adrienne and Cait at our booth #062 (opposite Dan's Original Hamburgers).

Some of our hair extension feathers have been removed from the website until next week and will be at the Fair instead.. This includes many of our colored feathers, rainbow mixes, xx long, thicks, and other assorted mixes, sizes, and colors. Please check back next week for an updated selection.

We continue to operate a little short handed due to two unrelated tragic incidents involving people close to two of our staff. Our deep sympathy and best wishes to these two valued staffer during this sad time. With Ronda and Tony gone as well for the rest of the week, we will be operating as best we can with a minimal staff until Tuesday July 12. Please be patient as we try to fill your orders and answer the phone in a timely and efficient manner. We are stretched pretty thin at this time.
Thank you.

  • JUNE 10, 2011:

Our first week back on line with the hair extension feathers has been very successful. Thanks to all. The news about new supply of feathers is not good. The rumor is that one producer, Metz, is done until 2012. Whiting is supposed to be working on putting together prepackaged product featuring 16 feathers for $40. These two American companies are the only serious producers of the type of long saddle feather that has traditionally been preferred for hair extensions. There is NO availability from overseas so don't be deceived by Chinese or African scam artists claiming to have these feathers. They do not.


Our own supply remains pretty good and we expect we will continue listing hair extension feathers for some time. We generally reduce the number of items available over the weekend since we cannot carefully monitor sales on our more limited items. However we will be adding some very nice new items on Monday including the famous "tiger" dyed grizzly, turquoise, hot pink, and some new natural and color mixes. Please check back during the work week.

  • JUNE 6, 2011:

Thanks for your patience while our staff enjoyed their annual retreat over an extended Memorial Day weekend. First the good news: Lamplight is beginning to repost the hair extension feathers that have been suspended during our partial closure. We still have a very large amount of stock in our inventory so keep checking back as the items change daily. We have grizzly and an abundance of other colors in lengths that range from 5-6" up to a limited quantity of 12-15+". We always have more stock than is posted on the site. You can call to ask about availability, especially of the Long and Extra Long lengths. Now the bad news: as many of you know new stock of these feathers has become virtually unobtainable worldwide. And the prices have continued to rise unchecked as demand remains very strong. In an effort to keep our stock more affordable and to give our customers a chance to buy more variety for their money, we have changed our packaging to SIX FEATHERS per card. We will continue to offer cards of all one color and as many natural, grizzly and dyed mixes in a variety of lengths as our stock allows.
Thanks,
Tony, Donna, Ronda, Lacey and the rest of our Lamplight staff.

  • MAY 17, 2011

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!! SALES OFFICE CLOSURE: While we are on our annual corporate retreat, our sales office will be closed from 4 pm Tuesday May 24th until 8:00 am Thursday June 2nd. Please do not leave a phone message, as we will not be checking it. Our shipping department will be shipping orders during this time on the following dates only: 5/25, 5/31, 6/1


While we are not accepting phone orders during this closure, our packing and shipping departments will be shipping MOST of the orders that come in on the internet. Please place your order there. Please direct any concerns or questions in an email. [email protected]

There will be NO RUSH SHIPMENTS during this period. USPS Priority, Express mail, and International Express, and UPS ground shipments will be the only method of shipping available.


Thank you for your patience during this time. We will do our best with our skeleton staff to get your orders shipped in a timely fashion.




  • APRIL 25, 2011

We have been fortunate to acquire a significant quantity of some very fine new stock in the feather hair extension category. We are in the process of categorizing and carding it up for posting on the site. Keep checking back through the week as new items will be added daily. Some of these are items we have not had in quite some time like full length (8-12") dyed grizzly.


  • APRIL 16, 2011

MIDNIGHT PST
SALES OF CARDED HAIR EXTENSION FEATHERS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED EXCEPT FOR A FEW ITEMS. WE WILL REOPEN WITH NEW STOCK WITHIN ABOUT 36-48 HOURS ONCE WE HAVE CAUGHT UP WITH CURRENT ORDERS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. THE HAIR EXTENSION FEATHER BUNDLES ARE STILL AVAILABLE.
Thank you to our customers for the large increase in volume of sales. And also to our staff who have putting in long and strenuous hours to try and maintain the best possible service and best possible product under these unusual circumstances. The hair extension feathers are selling at an extraordinary rate and I feel it is best to take a "time out" for a short time while we reassess our stock situation. Several items that we have regularly offered may be now out of stock entirely and not easily replaced. However we have been fortunate in that we do have some exciting new stock coming in. We will process and ship the orders we have received to this point but please be aware that some of the items that you have ordered this weekend may no longer be in stock permanently. We will be packing our orders chronologically and if an item has sold out when we get to your order you will be advised by email and refunded. Thank you for your consideration. We will be reassessing our situation on Monday 4/18. We are not sold out and have some very nice material both remaining and arriving but will need to check over our inventory so we can continue to offer a quality product at a reasonable price going forward.
Thank you,
Tony Hill


  • March 31, 2011

Lamplight Feather has just completed it's first quarter. The sales of hair extension feathers has pushed our sales to new records. We thank all our customers and staff for their help during this busy and often stressful time.
About the current situation with the long, thin hair extension feathers:
-- grizzly hackle is virtually impossible to obtain anywhere in the country for the foreseeable future. If you find it expect to pay top dollar... up to five times what was asked as recently as January. We have a bit left but it will be gone sometime next week. We have no idea when or if we can get more.
--- we were extremely fortunate, however, to obtain a stock of a rare and beautiful feather: natural cree. Cree is the name of a barred feather like grizzly but also has reddish brown and ginger barring as well. Some cree can contain up to five colors of barring. Cree is much too beautiful to dye so we will be selling it in natural only. When it's gone, it's gone.... there is no more.
---We will continue to offer a wide variety of natural and dyed over white feathers for as long as our supply lasts. Our supply of these remains fairly good... probably through the month of April.
---We will continue to work our contacts to obtain more stock of this item but I can make no promises. The situation is fluid but new supply remains very scarce. It all boils down to two or three major brreders here in the USA. There is no imported feather that matches these for this particular style. Keep checking back.
thank you,
Tony Hill
----My daughters, Adrienne and Cedra, are fashioning a wonderful array of feather hair extension bundles. These are assembled and ready to install. With much hard work they were able to accumulate a nice stock of Whiting hackle in many colors including grizzly. This is their own material and we do not have access to it. Most of the grizzly you will see on our site will the what is in their bundles. The also have a website of their own....Hill Trading Co. that is linked in several places on our site. Feel free to deal with them directly if you have special needs or designs that interest you.


  • MARCH 2011:

It has certainly been a busy year so far. Sales have skyrocketed with the hot fashion trend of feather hair extensions. We have added new staff to handle the load and are pleased to welcome Annie Golden to Lamplight Feather. Annie is a professional hairdresser in the afternoons but is able to work for us from 8:00 - noon. Her expertise in hair dressing has been helpful in helping us market the hair extension feathers.


  • JANUARY 2011:

We are pleased to announce that Lamplight Feather is now offering 1¢ priority shipping for all domestic orders over $50. And Flat Rate $6 for priority domestic order $49.99 and under.

On another note, we are also in the process of upgrading our version of of our website and will be making a changeover this month. Look for a NEW AND IMPROVED WEBSITE!!!


AUGUST 2010:
For the month of August we are experimenting with a shortened work week this year. Employees will still earn five days pay but only work 4 days. We will be closed on Fridays so no rush orders will be shipped that day. Please adjust your ordering schedule accordingly. Regular schedule resumes in September.


MAY 2010:
The Lamplight staff will be out of the office from Thursday May 27 through the Memorial Day weekend. We will be in Las Vegas on company business. While there we plan to attend a Tahitian Dance festival and meet with various interested parties who regularly use our feathers for costumes and events. We will also be having some fun and celebrating 15 consecutive months of record sales.
Telephone orders can be placed up until about 9:00 AM PST on Thursday. Phone messages after that time will be returned following the holiday weekend. No rush orders will be available for shipment on Thursday or Friday. All orders received on Thursday and Friday through the website will be shipped after the weekend. Thank you for your patience with this closure.


MARCH 2010:
At the end of February, Lamplight marked it's twelfth consecutive month of record sales. We thank all new customers and loyal returning customers who have made this success possible. Thank you, thank you.
Increased sales over the past 12 months has meant a staff expansion. We are pleased to welcome Trisha Hodges to our staff as of March 1. Trisha will be relieving Ronda and Lacey of many of our regular feather preparation tasks and allow them to concentrate more on sales and customer service. Welcome Trisha.
We are making plans for a company trip to Las Vegas in late May to attend a Tahitian dance fete and to meet with local costumers and tour their facilities. Donna, Ronda, Lacey and I will be out of the office on Thursday and Friday, May 27-28 but will be back by June 1, the Tuesday after Memorial Day.


JULY, 2009:

There will be some minor sales office closures during July. On Friday, July 3, we will be closed beginning at noon so the staff can have the afternoon off for travel and preparation for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.On July 9-10 Lamplight Feather will be exhibiting at the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta OR for our 36th consecutive year. The sales office will be closed and we will not be able to receive or return phone calls for those two days. The warehouse staff will be working, however, so internet orders and pending orders will ship as usual. If you have an inquiry during those two days please send it via email and we will do our best to get back to you via return email. Thank you.


JUNE, 2009:
Lamplight Feather has had some staff changes beginning June 1. Our manager, Daniel Deppen, felt it necessary to relocate to Portland, OR and is no longer with Lamplight Feather. Dan was an outstanding asset to us for 5 1/2 years and will be missed. Thanks and best of luck in the future, Dan!
Ronda Mcewen has been advanced to manager and we have every expectation that she will do a great job. Congratulations, Ronda!
We have hired a new employee, Lacey Stein, and she will be in training through August. We are quite pleased with Lacey and expect that she will soon be handling sales calls and customer service as well as her packing, shipping, and inventory duties. Welcome, Lacey!

DECEMBER 2007:
Lamplight Feather, Inc. is moving to a new location. No interruption of service is anticipated.
Thank you for your business and loyalty. Our business has expanded to the point where we needed a larger facility. We have purchased an historic building in downtown Fort Jones that doubles our warehouse capacity. We will be moving our sales office, packing and receiving departments, dyeing facility, and warehouse to:
11903 Main Street
Fort Jones CA 96032.
The move will be completed this week and we should be up and running at the new facility by Friday, December 21 and before the Christmas holiday. Please note that we will be closed Monday and Tuesday of Christmas week (Dec 24-25) but open and running at 8:00 AM December 26. Our telephone numbers and our mailing address (PO Box 867) remain the same. Our corporate offices will remain at 130 Carlock Street and will have a new phone number (not yet installed).


JULY 2007:
Lamplight Feather set up a booth display at the Oregon Country Fair near Veneta Oregon. 2007 marks our 35th consecutive year at the same booth location at the Fair. Tony, Donna, Ronda and daughters Cedra and Cait manned the booth for the three days July 13-15. Sales of both feathers and feather earrings were at an all time record. We also had some costume head pieces and hair clips, a line that we intend to expand. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun and plans are already afoot for an even bigger and better booth display next year.


JUNE 2007:
Lamplight Feather has added a new product which we hope our customers will enjoy. These are feather flowers (feather roses) which you can view by going to our catalog page. We are very impressed by the quality of this new item.


MAY 2007:
Tony and Donna attended the Luau Celebration at the Atlantis Casino. Tickets and lodging were complimentary for Lamplight. The evening presented a variety of traditional Hawaiian, Polynesian, and Tahitian music and dance. We also invited daughter Cait as our guest.


APRIL 2007:

Lamplight Fly and Feather is now LAMPLIGHT FEATHER, INC. It is still the same business entity with the same ownership as when we began in April 1973 but has been reorganized as a "S Corporation".


MARCH 2007:
Donna and Tony flew to Aruba on a combined business and pleasure trip. We were able to meet with many of our regular Aruba Carnival costume designers and made some new contacts with several of the dance reviews that perform around the island including the Aruba National Dance Troupe.
A lovely and wonderful island with friendly people, much to see and do, and a great carnival tradition.


AUGUST 2006 UPDATE:

As of September 1, 2006 Lamplight Feather will be welcoming to our staff Ronda McEwen. Ronda is an accomplished artist who will be helping with sales, shipping, and inventory management. Ronda's talent in arts and crafts and design expertise will be much appreciated by our customers with those special projects.
For those who haven't heard as yet, Donna Hill suffered a heart attack earlier this year. She has recovered quite nicely and is in good health but the incident has led her to step down from many of her full-time duties with Lamplight. She remains a part time member of the staff as a design consultant and for occasional vacation fill-in office staffing.
ARTICLE FROM OAKLAND TRIBUNE QUOTES DONNA HILL AND TALKS ABOUT LAMPLIGHT FEATHER AND FEATHERS IN CLOTHING DESIGN.
Novato clothes designer has feather fever
By Monique Beeler, Oakland Tribune
Four months before Nicole Kidman arrived at the Golden Globe Awards wearing an evening gown crowned with a peacock feather at the shoulder, Marin designer Lily Samii had designed her own ball gown trimmed with the showy bird's plumage.
"I did a gown for an opening for the ballet for Karen Caldwell; she's a beautiful socialite," says Samii, speaking from her San Francisco salon where she designs couture fashions using fine materials from silk crepe to crystal beading. "The gown was very deep green taffeta, and we had peacock feathers in the back and at the bustline. It was gorgeous she got so many compliments."
But the designer and her client were horrified when the Jan. 26 debut of Samii's peacock-inspired gown was upstaged 10 days earlier by Kidman's Golden Globe appearance.
"(Caldwell) called me and screamed, 'Did you see that? Did you see that?" Samii says. Designer and client shared a reluctant laugh over the irony of seeing the movie star in a gown so similar to Samii's creation.
In fashion, timing is everything. And 2005 appears destined to be the year of the peacock.
Expect the peacock's fancy feathers, image and color palette to show up in spring fashions and in jewelry and home decor. Prada, for instance, has introduced a playful short skirt featuring peacock feathers, upscale design company de Gournay is offering a peacock motif wallcovering and Cost Plus World Market is selling a wine bar and CD cabinet, each with an iron door etched with a floral peacock pattern.
"Yes, it's really become the in thing," says Donna Hill of Lamplight Feathers in Fort Jones, 100 miles north of Redding. "We were in InStyle magazine this month, page 353. They did a Mardi Gras arrangement with peacock feathers. Feathers in general are just going crazy."
Lamplight Feathers sells decorative plumes, including peacock, ostrich and pheasant, to Hollywood costumers, New York fashion designers, advertisers, home decorators and dance troupes worldwide.
"It's something new and different," says Hill, who co-owns the business with her husband Tony. "It's more glamorous ... Peacock feathers pick up so many colors, burgundy, green, gold, purple."
Designers aren't limiting themselves only to the colorful heart of the peacock feather, Donna Hill says. Several couture designers have plucked the delicate fronds of hair protruding from the quill, then bleached or dyed them before attaching them to a cloth border.
"People are using it on cuffs and necklines and hems to give a floating feeling, a real light feeling," she says. "They're using it on wedding dresses."
Tony Hill started the company as a source for hand-tied fishing flies. He added feather sales as an afterthought. Today, Lamplight Feathers sell an estimated 5,000 peacock feathers each month; a dozen cost $7.50. Tony Hill hasn't tied a fly in three years, his wife says.
She notes that peacocks naturally shed their feathers at the end of the mating season, so there's no need for plucking.
Donna Hill attributes the rising star of peacock feathers to a general shift in fashion attitudes.
"For a while everything was tomboy and unisex," she says. "Now, I think it's trending back toward the more feminine."
Image consultant and stylist Shea English, whose client list includes San Francisco Fashion Week and Levi Strauss & Co., says she likes the peacock feather look, especially as an accessory.
"People could embrace it like the brooch last year -- that was wonderful," English says. "(Peacock feathers) are going to be more for an eccentric person, someone willing to take a risk."
A recent tour of the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo revealed not a single peacock feather-festooned garment in stores, but peacock-worthy blues and greens appeared everywhere in silky fabrics made into baby doll-style tops, camisoles and flirty sundresses.
Mall employee Shauna Adams, 25, of San Francisco is not disappointed by the absence of peacock-feathered frocks in store windows.
"It's pretty to look at, not necessarily to wear," Adams says. "(But) I love the colors, because they're bright and vibrant."
Loubna Qutami, 19, of Millbrae, and her shopping buddy Alex Gonzalez, 18, of San Mateo say they welcome the classic beauty that peacock feathers and peacock themes lend to fashion. They like things that are different.
"It would be cute as long as it wasn't too much," Qutami says.
Images of the exotic bird on fabric work for her, but the thought of feathered jewelry such as earrings doesn't fly.
"I like the peacock print (concept), but I don't really like the feathers," Qutami says. "The swirl of blues and greens, that's hot. (I'm) not so crazy about the feather in the ear. That would just look weird."
Gonzalez is more open to wearing the real thing. It reminds her of her favorite fashion era and would complement her retro style, she says.
"I'm totally into the 1920s look, the hair, red lips, white skin, black eyeliner," Gonzalez says. "It's feminine and it's sexy."
While peacock themes may be missing from mainstream retail stores at the moment, Samii predicts it won't be long before they show up. In fact, she says, she expects the trend to be "huge, huge, huge."
"Sometimes I have a gut feeling about (trends)," Samii says. "I've seen (peacock themes) in some jewelry design, and I'm sure it's going to take off in the mass market little by little."
Samii says fashion trends generally travel from the level of couture or high design, then to the bridge market and finally to the junior market, also known as the mass market.
Years ago, she says, it took two seasons for the latest runway fashions to make it into the neighborhood boutique. Given today's technology, however, a design can hit the mass market virtually overnight. Within days of the Golden Globes broadcast, designer Allen B. Schwartz announced he'd be producing a $250 knock-off of Kidman's approximately $20,000 gown for his A.B.S. Label.
Fashion reflects what's happening in the broader culture and economy, Samii observes. She suspects the peacock's ascendance has been brought on by everyone's -- from the haves to have-nots' -- craving for symbols of affluence and elegance.
"The ones who have (money) really go all the way for luxury goods," Samii says. "They want to see something different. They want to see luxury in their handbags, shoes, jewelry, clothes."
The have-nots see these items depicted in magazines and movies and demand replicas, which soon fill the marketplace.
Peacock feathers long have been associated with the good life.
From 1870 to 1900, the peacock was a symbol of the Aesthetic movement's reputation for decadence. It was a period that emphasized pleasure in beautiful things and art for art's sake. Liberty of London, an upscale purveyor of clothing, furniture and home fashions, opened its doors during this era and was well known for its peacock pattern fabric, says Inez Brooks-Myers, curator of costume and textiles for the Oakland Museum of California.
"It was a fabulous fabric," Brooks-Myers says. "We have a tea dress in our collection that was made out of the peacock fabric. I can understand why it has evolved and returned."
The feathers' gemstone colors -- muddy green-brown and iridescent blue, green and turquoise -- contrasted with its bold, mysterious black eye give them an indisputable beauty that transcends time and culture, she says.
"The birds themselves have a very regal bearing," Brooks-Myers says. "Perhaps it's just a human quality that wants to emulate that regal bearing that appears in the bird."
Contact Lamplight Feather at 800-806-5149 or visit www.tonyhill.net.
SIDER: A peacock primer
Once a coveted gift given by Indian rajas to foreign rulers, the peacock today is a ubiquitous creature populating nearly every zoo.
While commonly called peacocks, the term technically applies only to the fantastically-colored male. The dull gray-green female is known as a peahen. Both males and females, which are indigenous to India and Sri Lanka, are called peafowl, says Peter Shannon, associate curator for the San Francisco Zoo.
On the zoo's Web site, there is no listing for peafowl in the collection. That's because the low-maintenance birds mostly fend for themselves and don't live in a special exhibition area as do other animals.
Staff members feed the zoo's population of about 50 birds a diet heavy on grain. Otherwise the birds graze on their own, and find their own treetop roosting spot each night. Peafowl instinctively know where the zoo's boundary lines - their personal safety zone - end, and don't venture beyond them, Shannon says. Peafowl live approximately 15 years.
The unremarkable color of the female allows her to blend in to her environment during nesting, while the male's plentiful plumage allows him to show off and compete for a mate.
At the end of each mating season, the male drops his quills leaving his backside a little bare.
- Monique Beeler

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