Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bald Male Northern Cardinal

 I have many Northern Cardinals who visit my feeder daily like this handsome fellow.

I've come to know a few, especially an older couple who come early morning and late evening for their meals and who regularly bring their fledglings.

But I was surprised one afternoon to find this bald male at my feeder. To see his head denuded of feathers alarmed me. 

I had seen molting in Cardinals, where individuals would lose a few feathers at a time to be replaced by new, but I had not seen molting to this degree.

I felt a pang of sympathy for him. He wasn't the best looking bird but otherwise appeared healthy as he seemed to have a good appetite enjoying sunflower seeds.

I kept a watch for him over several weeks to see if his feathers were growing in and, to my dismay, it did not look as if he were improving. 

I was concerned for him because, instead of an unusual molt pattern that he might be exhibiting, he could be suffering from feather mites or parasites. Not a good thing to have.

This past Tuesday evening, I was happy to see that he brought a lady friend to dine with him.

I carefully watched the happy couple and, closely examining his head, it looked as though his feathers are returning. 

This is a good thing.  And a satisfying thing for the soul to see, that no matter what you look like, love bloom.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! This helped me identify a balding male cardinal that has been coming to my feeder and it also gives me hope that he will regain his feathers.

  2. Hi Hubert, I am glad you found my post useful. Thank you for your comment.