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Thread subject: Ruffled feathers?
Name Date Message
Melanie 07/02/04 12:13 pm Several times since watching the nest I have seen Betty's feathers get pretty blown around to the point of having some large white ones sticking out. Have these just gotten blown out of place and she groom them back into place or are they fallling out?
Mickey 07/02/04 02:13 pm I have observed both Mel. So both are correcto mundo :) Last evening she took off with one out of place and returned with it either gone or back in place.
Cecilia 07/02/04 03:18 pm She's probably molting a feather here and there. Poole's book said that "ospreys molt their primaries gradually and in successive waves to ensure that only a few of each wing's aerodynamically important feathers are molted at once". They stop molting before migration and the males stop during the breeding season.
Marie 07/02/04 05:37 pm Right on Cecilia...birds generally MOLT x 2 a year if they are migratory birds. With flying around so much, feathers wear out. Worn feathers have to be replaced. Raptors replace their worn feathers slowly. Birds that stay in the one place generally molt x 1 a year. Birds , such as ducks , geese, grebes, swans, pelicans and auks, change their feathers all at once in a period of two weeks, but sometimes over a period of a month. During this period they cannot fly, and males in particular often complete the process on secluded lakes where it minimizes their vulnerability to predation. Hence one can find molted feathers all over the place which other birds pick up and use as part of their nesting material, especially the soft downy feathers that are closer to the bird's body. RECYCLED. That is why one sees lose feathers sticking out at odd angles on a bird because the new feathers coming in are pushing out the old worn ones.

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Fri Dec 31 23:49:43 EST 2004