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Thread: Bald headed cardinal

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Bald headed cardinal

    Can someone tell me if this cardinal, photo from March 28 in Rhode Island,
    is sick or could this be early molting? (it's barely Spring here)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Sick - usually caused by feather mites, which can spread from bird to bird via heavily-used feeders. Not usually fatal but the problem is usually only seen in summer, shortly before the normal moult period 9late summer) when the weather is hot and feather loss doesn't matter much. It could be more serious early in the year when cold weather can lead to hypothermia in birds with inadequate feathering.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Algarve, Portugal


    Agree with Michael, but his comments only apply to N Europe. I see this condition most commonly in Blackbirds (Turdus merula) and during the summer it is fatal. I have found quite a few such birds dead in a "wing spread" posture as though they were trying to cool themselves. I suppose that at temperatures of 40℃or more in blazing sunlight their heads just "fry".


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