huushiita asked: Lupa, I come to you to ask this question! I found a feather on the ground of the parking lot that we had parked in. I had picked it up, intending to clean it with soap and water. The parents literally freaked, and dad yelled at me until I threw it back out of the car. They were carrying on about diseases, and I just want to know ... if you find a feather, how do you, personally, take it home so that you don't get sick/infected.
Assuming it’s legal (most wild bird feathers are illegal to possess in the US, other countries vary) I would just put a plastic ziploc bag inside-out over my hand, pick up the feather, then wrap the bag around the feather properly and zip it up. Put it in the freezer for a couple of weeks to kill off any mites and germs (though if your folks were that freaked out the freezer thing may not be an option). Then clean with a mild detergent and water.
Most feathers aren’t going to be huge germ spreaders; if you’re in an area currently affected by West Nile Virus or a similar infection you’ll probably want to leave feathers of commonly affected species alone. Biggest concern is going to be mites, and again that can be fixed with the freezer.