Monday, August 25, 2008

Timber is molting!

The last time you saw Timber, our screech owl, he had just had a nice bath. In this video Timber is molting, which means his old feathers are shed and replaced by new ones. The health of a bird's feathers is crucial to its survival and adult birds molt at least once a year. The process is gradual as the bird must keep some of its feathers in order to maintain body temperature.

As you can see, Timber still manages to hang on to his natural owl-dignity, even as the humans make fun of his hairdo.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Timber is one cute bird, even while he is molting. I did not know that birds can lose all of their feathers on their head at once. Are there feathers all over his cage? I have a pet bird and when she molts it looks like I just bought a new yellow and red feathered carpet.

It is interesting the differences in different bird species. I thought i read somewhere that birds lose their feathers on each side of their body simultaneously (especially flight feathers) so it does not disrupt their flight. Is that true???

Thanks for the cute video on Timber!!

Your friend from TN

World Bird Sanctuary said...

Molting patterns seem to differ from bird to bird and even from molt to molt. You are right that the feathers are lost gradually, and a healthy bird never loses the ability to fly.

Some birds, especially among song birds, molt into what we call breeding plumage, which is the nicest outfit of the year! The bright plumage helps attract a mate.

And yes, I swept up a lot of Timber's feathers this week!