Feathers don’t just move birds through the air, though they do that exceedingly well. They also move markets, as the trade in feathers has had major impacts on history and bird populations. They also stir passions, as colorful plumage attracts the opposite sex among birds and also humans in many cultures. THOR HANSON is a conservation biologist and his new book is Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle. The book explores the natural and cultural history of feathers, blending Hanson’s field ornithology research with the work of paleontologists, biologists, engineers, art historians, and even fashion designers. Also joining the discussion will be NATE RICEOrnithology Collection Manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences here in Philadelphia, who will discuss the Academy’s large collection of bird specimens and what he’s learned working close to feathers throughout his career.

Listen to the mp3