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A few days ago, in the course of the recent thread on skin qualities
and feathers, someone mentioned in passing that they didn't think
birds ever had feathers on their lower legs. Not sure whether it's
germane to the issue, but since no one better qualified has pounced on
that one, may I cite the ptarmigan, which is feathered right down to
its cute little toe-claws (but probably not on the bottoms of the
toes--don't know for sure).