To: "birding Aus" <>, "Mauro" <>
Subject: feathers
From: Goodfellow <>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 09:37:08 +0000
Hello Mauro
You seem a very warm-hearted person and it seems like you and your parrot 
have a great relationship.

It is illegal in the NT to collect feathers, roadkills etc. I do 
understand the logic behind it all, but given the amount of habitat 
destruction that goes on, and that people are allowed to keep cats which 
destroy wildlife, it does seem a little weird, the more so I suspect 
because of my links with Aboriginal people, and their means of 

I was once threatened with prosecution for taking dead snakes to my 
children's school as teaching aids. I thought it most important that 
children learn about such creatures and so told the ranger to go ahead.  
After a long pause he replied that his department would probably 'end up 
with egg on its face'and that he would 'drop the matter'. Magistrates at 
the time told me they would have thrown the matter out.  

When I sought written permission to rehabilitate injured and orphaned 
wildlife it was refused on the grounds that I 'might collect baby birds, 
break their legs and then when they've recovered sell them overseas'!  
Why did I bother? Because at that time Hilary Thompson (he's a noted 
birdwatcher for those not in the know) and I had friends who had 
permission to rehabilitate injured wildlife and yet were raided by the 
authorities. One of these people was a well-known aviculturalist who was 
also the principal at my children's school.  He told me of the experience 
of another fellow who had found an injured Partridge Pigeon.  

As the bird's wing was so badly damaged there was no hope it would ever 
fly again this man was given verbal permission from the Conservation 
Comm. to keep the bird.  Months later he was raided, his house searched 
and the pigeon taken away.  He heard later that it had been fed to the 
pythons at the local zoo.

I've been asked by Museum staff to collect anything of interest I come 
across as many NT birds are very poorly represented in the collection 
here (eg all seven Masked Owls collected legally are in museums down 
south and overseas) and roadkills are the probably the only way these 
days they're going to be able to add to it. And judging by recent contact 
with rangers they're not so one-eyed about roadkills any more.  

I don't know how tightly the laws on collecting feathers and such are 
enforced in southern states.  However I'd be careful in Queensland.  A 
friend was warned off by a ranger near Cairns for just looking at a dead 
snake (he was ordered to get back in his car and drive!).
And yet look at the bowerbird business that raised such a furore a few 
months back, and the land clearing that's ocurring in that state.  Crazy 
isn't it!

Denise Goodfellow  (Lawungkurr Maralngurra)

Follow these direct links to my work on the web:
Four Short Stories

Birds of Darwin Sketches

Birding & Natural History in the Far North

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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