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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Bird feathers wear away to reveal color

What is that black bird with the yellow mark on its shoulders? A reader recently asked for help in identifying a feeder bird she didn’t recognize. It was a Red-winged Blackbird, like the one shown here, with yellow bright on the wing as the red begins to appear. The trademark red epaulet is revealed as black shoulder feathers wear away. This happens as spring begins, the red fully revealed in time for the male bird to be ready for courtship. Other bird species reveal their brighrt breeding colors in the same way.

Wood Duck mom keeps her ducklings out of the rain

Rain today (Friday) kept many of us inside or under umbrellas. It's sort of the same for ducks. This hen Wood Duck was providing cover for her six ducklings, one of which is checking on the weather. Ducks can be wet on the bottom, it seems, but should be dry on top. A soggy duckling loses heat quickly.

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