Our Blue Jay is missing his cool hairdo!
Photography and Article by Norma Beaird
We had been loading up the buffet for our avian friends, and when we say "loading up", that's exactly what we do....give them plenty to eat. We can come in from outside and were standing at the kitchen window when we saw a bald-headed Blue Jay come to the feeder. Usually, each year, sometime between the Summer and Fall, we will see a bald Blue Jay or a bald Northern Cardinal. When you see something like this, you kinda understand why Southerners adapted the phrase "Bless his heart!"
According to Feederwatch:
The most common explanation for this phenomenon is that these birds have dropped their head feathers simultaneously during molting, resulting in individuals being nearly bald for about a week. Most bald-headed bird reports occur in summer and fall, which are typical molting times. Many of these strange-looking birds may be juveniles undergoing their first prebasic molt, which produces the first winter adult plumage. For Blue Jays, this molt pattern is considered normal, and this molt pattern happens with enough frequency in Northern Cardinal populations to be considered within the normal range.
Other cases of baldness may result from feather mites or lice, or some environmental or nutritional factor. But no one knows for sure, and the condition has not been well studied. Fortunately, new head feathers grow in within a few weeks.
Copyright 2015, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.