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Some Birds are Molting

Possibly a Brown Thrasher

A few of the birds here are in the molting phase of the year.  This is when their feathers fall out and they grow a new covering of fresh feathers.  When this happens, the birds just don’t look like themselves.  Imagine if your hair fell out and your clothes had giant tears and rips, all at the same moment in time.  Sometimes the birds just look a bit scruffy or have patches here and there of lighter feathers.  I am posting this just to show a natural state which happens to the birds every year at seasonal times.  The birds do not all molt at the same time of year or on the same day.   It varies from bird to bird and species to species but I have seen several in this condition this week.  This molt is also coinciding with our very hot summer weather here this year on the Cumberland Plateau.  Our daytime temperatures are now about 10 degrees F. higher than usual.  So, a bird with fewer feathers, and hot windy days, equals a rather miserable critter!  It will pass as it always seems to do.  I have included a few individual birds here.  It is hard to get photographs of many molting birds because the birds tend to stay in their tree perches most of the time when in molt.  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.  Have an excellent day!

Tufted Titmouse


Male Northern Cardinal

Same Cardinal as at left

Female Eastern Bluebird

Female Downy Woodpecker

Comments on: "Some Birds are Molting" (6)

  1. I am sure learning from you. I have seen birds like this many times, and I thought they were sick and about to die!!! Especially blue jays. How long does the process take?

    • Hi Ginny, I am not a bird expert but I have read where many birds take about 6 weeks + – to molt, with some even longer than that. It is also hard to tell about whether or not a wild bird may be sick or just molting. The molting process can also be partial or full. Hope this helps. Have a wonderful day!

  2. It’s the time of the year for them to molt…. Some of them just aren’t very pretty right now—but I still love them… Talk about funny looking…. I took alot of pictures today of our very WET birds.. Some of them just look so pitiful….. I’ll post a blog soon of them.

  3. About time to grow out that new winter wardrobe I guess!

  4. What a rascal!! Great pics for something that happened on the spur of the moment!

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