Backyard Dispatches

This is a question many customers ask me during the dog days of summer. The spring and early summer is filled with beautiful bird song and bird activity, from migration, to nest building, tending to nestlings and introducing them to the world. Now it’s time for the next phase, molting. Many of our birds need to complete their molt before migrating to their wintering grounds. This includes one of everyone’s favorite, the orioles.

Molting means replacing old feathers with new ones. During the year feathers can be damaged causing them to weaken, and can also be discolored from the sun. Feathers cannot heal themselves so they need to be replaced with new ones. Old feathers will fall out gradually as the new ones grow in. This can be a stressful time for birds, so this time of year is favorable for molting when the weather is warm and the bugs…

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