Monday, July 27, 2009

The molt goes on...

Birding at Voice of America (VOA) Park near Mason, OH
..continued from a post last week on a male Bobolink molting into his Basic non-breeding plumage at VOA Park.
I stopped by the park late friday afternoon to see how far along the male Bobolinks were in their molts. It had only been five days since I was last there, but boy had they changed!

He has lost almost 50% of his black
feathers. The change is fairly quick!

If you look closely, you can see he is losing
the pigment in his bill. It's mottled black now.

Check my other side...I'm quite handsome in
my "tortie-shell transition phase."

He will molt all of his feathers including flight and
tail feathers. He does not lose them all at once,
so he is never rendered completely flightless



While walking through the mowed areas of the meadow, I heard three Henslow's Sparrows in the middle...and a single Henslow's Sparrow in the area closest to the little parking spot by the big tree. There were also five Willow Flycatchers hawking insects using the big tree as a base. If you want to learn more about the Henslow's Sparrows of VOA, head over to my friend's new blog, Everybody Funny. He surveyed VOA from 2001 to 2007 weekly and accumulated a lot of research on the Henslow's Sparrows nesting there.

28 comments:

Sue said...

He's looking a bit "rough". I know how he feels! LOL

mick said...

Great photos. Very interesting plumage change. Here in Australia the migrant birds are shorebirds and they have changed into non-breeding plumage before they get here. However, we get lovely views of them changing into breeding plumage before they leave here at the end of the season.

gwendolen said...

Great post about molting, Kelly. Very interseting to see the various stages of molting.

Dave Lewis said...

Yow, that bird is certainly stylin' now!

Laure Ferlita said...

Sure seems a lot of bother! ;•) But whatever it takes to get the chicks, right?

Kerri said...

Great shots!!

Warren Baker said...

It's interesting the way birds moult their feathers. they go through a sequence so as to not render them flightless, but they are restricted in flight a little.

PS thanks for the ''blog friend'' ive put it on my side bar!

Roy said...

Poor guy! That's one bedraggled-looking bird. Good thing it's only temporary.

NatureStop said...

Great shots Kelly.He looks a little different now:)

Heather said...

Poor guy. This reminds me a lot of Goldfinch molt. He's still handsome, though, in that "haven't shaved in 5 days" sort of way.

Kelly said...

Sue...I do to! :-)

Mick...I do enjoy watching the change. It's so interesting. Our American Goldfinches are quite dramatic as well.....(don't enjoy watching the change in my own hair--I could do without the "getting gray" molt.) :-)

Gwendolen...thank you. I love it too...nature is amazing.

Dave...I like his fleeting "Totie-shell look" too!

Laure...hahaha! So true....

Kerri...Thank you!!

Warren...they are definitely restricted a little, which might be why I've gotten some fairly decent shots (better than those at the beginning of the season!)

Roy....so true. He's lucky to have the two wardrobes. It never gets boring for him... ;-)

Nature...thank you. When's he finished, he will look like a completely different bird!

Heather...I think so too. I really like the look. It reminds me of our Goldfinches in spring as well. (sometimes they get really scruffy looking!)

Tabib said...

Another beautiful molting series.

BirdingMaine said...

Stunning photo series Kelly! I have never seen a molting Bobolink, quite a looker.

NicoleB said...

He's gorgeous!
And so are the shots!
What a show model :D

holdingmoments said...

I think he still looks handsome.
Love that last shot.

DK Miller said...

Wow, he really did change a lot. Thanks for sharing. I like seeing different stages in animals lives.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kel, I went back and checked out what the Bobolinks looked earlier in the summer. It's amazing how much he has molted... My Cardinals are molting also--although some of them are still pretty red...

Wish you lived closer.. I'm always seeing different birds---and don't know what they are....

Love you friend,
Betsy

Elaine said...

Interesting to see the change in such a short time. Nice series of shots.

The Early Birder said...

Thank you for another interesting post with super pics to match.
FAB my friend.

Mary said...

This is so interesting! Beautiful birds at any stage.

JKoenig said...

I love the colors! Reminded me of a cat we once had. I did notice a Goldfinch today that seemed to be starting to change. Beautiful pictures!!

Tranquility said...

What a transition! I like the pretty new feathers though.

Anna said...

Oh Kelly what a change. Beautiful images. You have capture truly nice bird poses. Anna :)

Andor Marton said...

The changing is noticeable and it's amazing all that happened in one week. I'm not a bobolink expert - is this the end of the changes oder are they more to come?

E said...

Wonderful shots, Kelita, love it, hugs, many abrazos!

Kelly said...

...isn't it a great sight? You wonder what the reason is for such a dramatic change. Since they live in meadows and grasslands, you would think a big black bird would be conspicuous, but that's not the case. I the summer, the male, perches on the tall grasses, looks like any other flower or dead stalk growing above the grass. The dark color helps him blend in!

Andor asked are the more changes to come...yes, over the next week, he will eventually morph into the same colors of the female (although his colors will be richer). Hopefully I can capture that!

Jenny said...

Great to see a bird moulting so dramatically and such great photos too!

Jann said...

Another blogger told me about your bobolink post after I posted a photo of a molting male, wondering if it was a juvie male or what. So thank you for 'being there' for me! Another blogger said they migrate to S America for 6-7 mo's. Impressive feat! Very nice photos!