Posts Tagged ‘feathers’

Where do all those coup feathers come from?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Not eagles, but osprey, a sea hawk nesting on a man-made platform.

 

 

I’m working on a Western historical and as I was researching the various types of coup feathers, I found an entry on the process of catching the eagles.  Eagles are too clever to be caught with a snare or a bow.  Their capture requires more craft.

The process is fascinating.  There is elaborate ritual for cleansing and sacred rituals preformed before the hunt.  Then there is preparation for the trap which is a pit dug with only a knife.  The dirt must be carried away or you tip off the eagle to your intentions.  The pit is only deep enough for one warrior to lie on his back.  This image makes me think of lying in one’s grave and seems an act of bravery already.  Once the pit is ready, an assistant helps arrange the clever concealment of logs, dirt, moss and grasses.  Then the bait is laid using a flayed rabbit or perhaps the neck of a buffalo.  The warrior then waits.  When the eagle lands, the hunter reaches up from beneath the bird and grabs both legs.  Then he pulls it into the pit where the bird’s neck is quickly twisted. 

Can you imagine grabbing a struggling eagle without running afoul of its powerful beak and.  They should give a coup feather just for catching the bird. 

So that answers my question.  But I wouldn’t try this as it is illegal to catch or kill any bird of prey unless you are a Native American.