ETYM Old Eng. fether, as. fether.
1. The light horny waterproof structure forming the external covering of birds; SYN. plume, plumage.
2. Turning an oar parallel to the water between pulls; SYN. feathering.
Rigid outgrowth of the outer layer of the skin of birds, made of the protein keratin. Feathers provide insulation and facilitate flight. There are several types, including long quill feathers on the wings and tail, fluffy down feathers for retaining body heat, and contour feathers covering the body. The coloring of feathers is often important in camouflage or in courtship and other displays. Feathers are replaced at least once a year.