A shuttlecock, also known as a birdie, is a projectile used in the sport of badminton.
It is made up of a cone-shaped cork base with a rounded rubber tip, and it is covered with a skirt of feathers. The feathers are arranged in a circular pattern around the base, and they help to stabilize the shuttlecock in flight and provide a consistent trajectory.
Traditionally, shuttlecocks were made with 16 feathers, which were obtained from the left wing of a goose.
The feathers play a critical role in the performance of the shuttlecock, providing stability, trajectory, and speed in flight.
As the demand for shuttlecocks increased and the cost of feathers rose, manufacturers began to experiment with different materials and designs.
Many shuttlecocks are made with synthetic feathers or a combination of natural and synthetic materials, and they may have a different number of feathers depending on the design and intended use.
Competition-grade shuttlecocks generally have 16 feathers, although some models may have 14 or 18 feathers. Shuttlecocks with fewer feathers tend to be lighter and faster, while those with more feathers tend to be more stable and offer greater control.
It is worth noting that the feathers used in shuttlecocks are not plucked from live geese or other birds, but rather obtained as a by-product of the food industry.
The feathers are carefully selected and sorted to ensure that they meet the required specifications for size, shape, and quality.
Why is a shuttlecock known as a birdie?
The term “birdie” is commonly used in North America to refer to the shuttlecock used in the game of badminton.
The term likely originated because the shuttlecock is traditionally made with feathers from a goose or duck, which are birds.
The term “birdie” may have been used to distinguish the shuttlecock from other types of balls used in sports such as tennis or basketball, and it is also used in golf.
Another possible explanation for the use of the term “birdie” in badminton is that it may be a variation of the word “bird,” which was used in the 19th century to describe the cork base of the shuttlecock. The word “bird” was eventually modified to “birdie” to differentiate it from live birds and to make it easier to say.
Regardless of its origins, the term “birdie” has become a common and widely recognized term for the shuttlecock in North America, and is often used interchangeably with the term “shuttlecock” or “shuttle.”