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Gray feather with red tip, about 5 cm (2 in) total length. It was found in Lexington, Kentucky (central western USA).

Gray feather with red tip, about 2" total length

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    $\begingroup$ Where did you find it (which type of ecosystem and what country / region)? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Nov 25 '17 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ Good point. Sorry, I'm not used to posting here. But I think the answer is below. I'll try to give better information in the future. $\endgroup$ – vknowles Nov 27 '17 at 2:41
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    $\begingroup$ @vknowles That's nice, thanks, but please tell us the location, so I can edit your question (making it complete for future reference). $\endgroup$ – user24284 Nov 27 '17 at 2:44
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    $\begingroup$ It was in our back yard in Lexington, KY $\endgroup$ – vknowles Nov 28 '17 at 17:45
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It seems to be the secondary feather of a Waxwing, a bird from the Genus Bombycilla, like Bombycilla cedrorum:

enter image description here

Cedar waxwing. Source: https://rctfan2.deviantart.com/art/Cedar-Waxwing-285656802

Actually, that red tip gives the bird its name (from the Wikipedia link):

They have unique red tips to some of the wing feathers where the shafts extend beyond the barbs; in the Bohemian and Cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its common name.

Therefore, the possible species are the Bohemian waxwing (B. garrulus)...

enter image description here

... and the Cedar waxwing (B. cedrorum):

enter image description here

However, since the secondaries of B. garrulus normally have a white area next to the tip...

enter image description here

... I'd guess that your feather belongs to B. cedrorum.

In conclusion

Besides the white patches in the feathers of Bohemian waxwings, OP just confirmed that the range of the Bohemian waxwing doesn't match. Therefore, this feather belongs indeed to a Cedar waxwing.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think it is the Cedar waxwing because after reading about the range, it seems unlikely to be the Bohemian. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – vknowles Nov 27 '17 at 2:44
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I’m impressed. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Nov 27 '17 at 18:43

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