To beat: in the phrase to bate the wings, to flutter, fly. In falconry, to beat the wings impatiently; flutter as preparing for flight, particularly at the sight of prey; flutter away. To flutter; be eager or restless. To flutter or fly down. Century Dictionary
Upon closer inspection, the mysterious feathers in the pen can I inherited are actually some sort of pseudo-quill contraptions. Someone took apart a ballpoint pen, taped the ink/ballpoint part to the feather shaft, and then laboriously wrapped it all in white duct tape. I'm impressed.