What’s Up? – Molting

Molting in Birds


In birds, molting (mounting) is the periodic replacement of feathers by shedding old feathers while producing new ones. Feathers are dead structures at maturity which are gradually abraded and need to be replaced. Adult birds molt at least once a year, although many molt twice and a few three times each year. It is generally a slow process as birds rarely shed all their feathers at any one time; the bird must retain sufficient feathers to regulate its body temperature and repel moisture. The number and area of feathers that are shed varies. In some molting periods, a bird may renew only the feathers on the head and body, shedding the wing and tail feathers during a later moulting period. Some species of bird become flightless during an annual “wing molt” and must seek a protected habitat with a reliable food supply during that time. While the plumage may appear thin or uneven during the molt, the bird’s general shape is maintained despite the loss of apparently many feathers; bald spots are typically signs of unrelated illnesses, such as gross injuries, parasites, feather pecking (especially in commercial poultry), or (in pet birds) feather plucking


Photo Gallery


The Northern Cardinal (See pictures) is undergoing the process of molting, the bird is a healthy female, shedding feathers and renewing the plumage without any impediments for flying or feeding.


This time we have a Carolina Chickadee already showing signs that molting has started, gradually without any interference to his daily life routines.


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Red Gallery – Northern Cardinal

You are welcome to the Northern Cardinal Photo Gallery, every Saturday!

It’s suggested to relax and enjoy!


The Northern Cardinal is a territorial song bird. The male sings in a loud, clear whistle from the top of a tree or another high location to defend his territory. He will chase off other males entering his territory. He may mistake his image on various reflective surfaces as an invading male, and will fight his reflection relentlessly. The northern cardinal learns its songs, and as a result the songs vary regionally. Mated pairs often travel together.

Also, the songs of a northern cardinal will usually overlap more in syllables when compared to other northern cardinals near it than those far away from it.


Photo Gallery



© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Here Birdie! A different Approach…

Is there a better way to travel?… Like a Boss!



© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Bird’s ID – Boat-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle


The Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) is a passerine bird of the family Icteridae found as a permanent resident on the coasts of the southeastern United States. It is found in coastal saltwater marshes, and, in Florida, also on inland waters. The nest is a well-concealed cup in trees or shrubs near water; three to five eggs are laid.

Young males are black but lack the adult’s iridescence. Immature females are duller versions of the adult female and have blotches or spots on the breast. The eye color of the boat-tailed grackle varies with range. Gulf Coast and inland birds have dark eyes, whereas Atlantic birds have pale eyes.[Boat-tailed grackles have established significant populations in several United States Gulf Coast cities and towns where they can be found foraging in trash bins, dumpsters, and parking lots.

This bird’s song is a harsh jeeb, and it has a variety of typically grackle-like chatters and squeaks.


Photo Gallery


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101
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