Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where oh where are your tail feathers

You may remember this lovely couple from last month.
Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal visit my feeders frequently
and I have a gazillion photos of them.

But when Mrs. Cardinal showed up yesterday with her tail feathers missing ...
well, I was confused!

 I have never seen a bird with missing tail feathers!
At first I thought it might be a fledgling but certainly not this time of year.
So I had to google 'cardinal missing tail feathers' and sure enough
google had the answer!

 Apparently they call it fright molt which is a survival mechanism that helps birds 
escape a predator.  Somehow all the tail feathers are ejected from the feather follicles at one time.
The sacrifice of tail feathers is only temporary and new ones will grow in after four to six weeks.

 I'm glad she survived whatever was after her.  
But my, oh my, her patootie looks a bit naked.

I feel I should close my eyes!