We are well into the season where birds are acquiring spring plumage, weather aside. The male American Goldfinches visiting our feeders show daily change. This molt begins in late January, triggered by light levels, and can continue into June for some birds. The bright yellow of summer appears one feather at a time, giving the birds a pied appearance. One of two of our feeder visitors have almost completed this molt. Others are way behind. Female goldfinches also molt at this time of year, acquiring a new set of feathers, but with subtle color changes. The molts occur as demonstrated – a few feathers at a time. A molt of all feathers simultaneously would render the bird easy prey and susceptible to weather. Below, two male American Goldfinches.



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