Fashion & Feathers

Bird-inspired outfits perfect for spring 

Photography by Lisa Staff + Styled by Bailey Gilliam

Birds have long been admired for their beautiful plumage, graceful movements and incredible survival skills. Birds have also long been admired in the fashion world. From the bright turquoise of a scarlet-thighed dacnis to the earthy brown markings of a barred owl, trends of a feather flock together in this bird-inspired fashion shoot. A special thanks to members of the Hilton Head Audubon and a few other bird-loving locals for modeling and sharing their favorite birds for outfit inspiration. If you are interested in becoming an Audubon member or would like to learn more about how you can help the organization, visit

Jordan Matthis

(LOCAL Life intern)

A group of American black vultures is known as a committee. Vultures are mostly silent as they lack a syrinx, so they can only hiss, growl and snarl. They are predominantly scavengers but will occasionally kill small animals that are sick or dying. However, they will not eat a carcass that is more than a few days old.

Available at The Back Door

A group of American black vultures, also known as a committee

Carlos Chacon 

My favorite bird is the scarlet-thighed dacnis because it’s very colorful and hard to see. They are hard to find. And if you see one, especially in the right light, they are iridescent. Extravagant. It’s an amazing bird.

Available at Outside Hilton Head

Closeup of a beautiful blue and black songbird, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis perching on a branch in a coffee plantation in Chiriqui Province,Panama.

Jim Reynolds 

My favorite bird is the barred owl because it’s big, majestic and big-eyed. It’s slow moving when it’s sitting there, fast when he’s flying, smart and is just a cool bird.

Available at John Bayley Clothier

Barred owl (Strix varia) sitting on a tree. Barred owl is best known as the hoot owl for its distinctive call

Shannon Wilkinson 

My favorite bird is the Carolina wren. It looks very humble. It has a beautiful voice and it sings literally all day long. And it just reminds me of the joy of living back in the Carolinas.

Available at L+B Boutique

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) on fence post near flower garden, Marion, Illinois, USA.

Thaddaeus Rios 

My favorite bird is the belted kingfisher because it’s got a great haircut and is very patient. It likes to sit around and wait for the smaller fish to come around and go through rivers, and then it swoops down to eat them.

Available at Southern Tide

Charlotte Rios 

My favorite bird is the Mississippi kite because I like the color, and I like that they have narrow wings so they can fly gracefully.

Available at Island Child
Female Belted Kingfisher
Mississippi Kite sitting on a branch

Ava Elizabeth Rios 

My favorite bird is the majestic great blue heron because it is the largest bird in North America. When it stands, it’s 39 inches tall. It also has these long, colorful legs, and when fish come near it, it stabs them with its sharp beak. Kind of ruthless, but I like them.

Available at Spartina 449

Nathanael Rios 

My favorite bird is the
red-winged blackbird because it’s very pretty.

Available at Palmettoes

A male red-winged blackbird flies past a flower patch of Eaton's Penstemon flowers. Silverthorne, Colorado.

Mary Ellen Blankenship 

My favorite bird is an orange-crowned warbler. When I moved here, my father was in memory care and I put a feeder outside of his window, and I had a little bird on there that I could not identify; it was so tricky and so nondescript. And I finally figured out that’s what it was. One comes to my feeder every year, and it reminds me of my father. 

Available at Quiet Storm Surf Shop

Orange-crowned Warbler perched on twig

Rosemary Staples 

My favorite bird is the oystercatcher because I took some pictures about a month ago, and when I got home and zoomed in on my camera, I found that they were both tagged and they had different numbers. I was so excited because you can go online and find out who these birds are. They’ve been tagged since 2014, and they leave from North Carolina and go to Florida every year. They stop in Beaufort and they’ve had about five broods in the last 10 years. It’s just exciting to be able to participate in that part of a bird’s life and to be able to confirm that “hey, these (birds) are doing really well; they’re still around.”

Available at Maggie & Me

Oyster catcher standing on the beach with waves behind it.

Steve Fishman 

My favorite bird is a blue heron because it’s a very large, graceful bird.

Available at John Bayley Clothier

Ardea herodias, Blue Heron

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