louise danger (alethiometric) wrote in wtf_nature,
louise danger
alethiometric
wtf_nature

Molting Cardinals!

This time of year, many birders report receiving phonecalls from puzzled or excited neighbors who believe that they have spotted a rare or diseased bird in their backyard.

Is it true?

Is the bird some freak of nature?

What could possibly make a beautiful female Northern Cardinal go from this





There are two possible answers: one is the birds' twice-yearly molt, which sometimes causes all of their headfeathers to fall out all at once. The other possible cause is mites - as the bird itches and itches to get the mites off, its claws catch the feathers and before long, any mite-affected area is bald.
Tags: bird
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