When I saw this American Crow approaching yesterday i thought I was looking at molting bird. Then it flew over me, and as I took this photo is was apparent that something else had happened. The crow is battered. Feathers are missing and broken. Feather vanes are gone in some places. The bird looks lucky to be able to fly.

Crows, like most birds, molt once a year. They don't replace all feathers at the same time, however. That would render them flightless and without protection from the elements while new feathers grew. Molt is accomplished a few feathers at a time. I've searched to learn whether or not new feathers will replace those lost before the replacement caused by molt. Will this bird look ragged until his molt cycle begins? I can't find an answer.

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History of birding and guide books -- interesting and entertaining

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Western Grebe, Lake Independence