Aug 31 2011

Imagine It Bald

Published by at 7:30 am under Songbirds

Last year around this time I saw quite an example of feather molting!

I was sitting outdoors just after dawn when I heard a cardinal make warning calls behind me.  I couldn't see her but I could tell she was upset by my presence, though I didn't move.  Eventually she popped out and perched on a branch in full view. 

Yikes!  She was ugly!  All the feathers were missing from her head and face except for one tuft where her crest should have been.  Her skin was black.  I could see her ear holes.

I don't have a picture of her but if I did you wouldn't want to see it.  Way too ugly!

So you'll just have to imagine this bird is bald.

Or if you really can't imagine it, take a look at the cardinals on this Bill of The Birds blog from September 2008.

(photo in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.  Click on the photo to see the original)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Imagine It Bald”

  1. Patsyon 31 Aug 2011 at 7:51 am

    I have both a male and a female that come to my feeders. You are exactly right, they do look awful. Am glad to learn that the new feathers will grow in shortly. They are one of my favorite birds to watch and listen to.

  2. faith cornellon 31 Aug 2011 at 8:11 am

    I too have “ugly”cardinals on my deck. They are starting to slowly look a little brighter tho. I have the ugliest blue jay coming tho, he had lost all his neck feathers so he has this empty space between head & body feathers & looks likesomeone tried to pluck him. When they leave the feeder there are little tufts of feathers wafting down. They have to work so hard at finding food and raising their young then to put up with this problem and we think dandruff is bad!!! Thanks for the interesting photo. But acutually that one looks better than the one had here earlier.
    You certainly do educate us Kate, it is nice to be so much more aware of nature around us including weeds. wehave had a wonderful summer. Last Winter was so mean that I think I enjoyed summer more than usual. Hopefully we’ll just have a regular winter.

  3. Sharon Leadbitteron 31 Aug 2011 at 8:20 am

    Awwww … they’re not ugly …. just having a seasonal makeover

  4. Joshon 31 Aug 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I had a male that looked just fine except that there was a black oval were it’s crest should have been. That’s part of what’s so cool about birding, there’s always something new to see.

  5. Margeon 01 Sep 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Joyce Perrone (friend of Marcy’s and mine) has a photo on her facebook page of a male that she calls the “Vulture Cardinal” because he is bald and that’s almost what he looks like.

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