April 12, 2017

Macaw Feather Harvesting Finds in the Ancient Southwest

Macaw skeletons in three pueblos in New Mexico show signs of feather harvesting. Macaw feathers have been found all the way north to Utah at sites dating from 300-1450 CE. There is little evidence of macaw breeding in the Southwest. So the birds were imported from Mesoamerica. Researchers found that the macaw bones in the three pueblos show multiple feather loss the entire length of both wings. Thus the feathers were being harvested. Evidence of hand feeding and great care for the birds also showed up in the study. Chaco had an aviary with a 25 centimeter layer of guano. Macaws lived at Chaco around 1050-1120 CE. They saw the birds as tied to the underworld and rain bringers. So the birds were carefully cared for beyond the need for feather harvesting.

Nature.com has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Aztlan World

Mike Ruggeri’s Casas Grandes World Magazine

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