Tania Tengan spends a lot of time cleaning out birdcages as an owner and foster parent of rescued companion birds. The feathers and poop were getting scooped up together and dumped into the trash, until one day she realized she could rescue the feathers and make something both beautiful and valuable to help even more birds.
“Many of us bird owners were throwing away the majority of our birds’ feathers every morning with cage paper…I made a pair of earrings with some feathers from my own 21-year-old bird,” she remembered. “They were beautiful.”
In addition to being a passionate supporter of different animal rescue groups, including Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and Mickacoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue, Tengan is an artist. Noticing the popularity of feathered jewelry, she decided to create and sell her own, donating a portion to help more birds.
There was one more facet to Tengan’s new artistic and philanthropic endeavor, raising awareness about the dark side of most feathered accessories.
“All the feathers in feather jewelry and craft stores, except peacock feathers, are taken from birds that were bred and killed just for their feathers,” she said. “My jewelry is a vehicle to explain to people the ugly truths behind the fashion industry, and tie it in with bird rescue. People are so surprised because everybody knows birds molt.”
Tengan's jewelry will be on display and available for purchase this Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair at First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To see the entire story about Tengan's jewelry and rescue efforts, please visit the Good Neighbor Stories' website.