A very brief post this evening. One of the interesting talks at SVP 2011 was by Ryan Carney, who presented on his imaging study of the original Archaeopteryx holotype feather (it is now, of course, essentially an unidentified Jurassic bird element, as the holotype of Archaeopteryx has been transferred formally to the London specimen).
Most of the talk concerned using microstructure imaging to determine color in the feather, and it was determined that the feather was likely quite dark, possibly black. This may seem to be purely a matter of appearance, but it turns out to be biomechanically relevant: melanin actually strengthens feathers, so black feathers are stronger than white ones, all else being equal (note that all else need not be equal; there are other ways of reinforcing light colored feathers). It may be that incorporating pigment effects into structural analyses of basal bird wings will have interesting effects on the results. I may be doing some of this myself over the next year, but look for similar analyses from multiple authors (Ryan, himself, mentioned the structural importance in passing during his presentation).