This is a great forum!  My question concerns the feathers that grow on birds' legs.......are they long feathers from the body or are the feathers actually growing on the legs?

Birds do often have long feathers on their lower legs. Thanks to the way birds stand their thights are rarely seen and most of what you see is the lower leg and then the long bones of the foot (this is why they often appear to have 'backwards knees', it's not the knee but the ankle) before the toes spread at the bottom. If you watch soemthing like an eagle about to strike with the legs hanging below the body then those long feathers are indeed anchored on the lower legs and not jsut extensions of the body. Only the feet are 'bald' though even those often have some super-fine and small feathers from between the scales.