Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's Molt Time!

I get a pretty good idea when breeding season has come to an end when I see the Big Molt.  Several species here are conspicuous molters, and none more obvious than the Northern Cardinals.  They show off their blue (black?) skin as they drop feathers.  What's going on?  It's a simple sign that the Cardinals (and others) have gotten pretty depleted as a result of raising young.  Their worn and stressed feathers get replaced with new plumage that will carry them into the hard times this winter.  It's a hoot to see even if the birds are not that embarrassed! 

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