August 2018: “Mid-summer Molt”
Identify each numbered species.
It’s amazing how quickly summer seems to pass for birds, and they begin their summer molts and are back into migration mode. The mid-to-late summer time period is pretty important for birds as they begin molting in new feathers to sustain them for another year. For adult birds (birds born before this year) this means undergoing a pre-basic molt in which all feathers are replaced (producing the basic plumage). Hatching-year birds (birds born this year) will grow juvenal feathers in the nest, and then replace their body feathers toward the end of summer during the pre-formative molt (producing the formative plumage which looks similar to that of an adult in most cases). During this transitional period, birds can look rough, and be tough to identify. But it’s a very interesting, short-lived time to observe them and take note of their development.
[Hint: each of these warbler species was banded by BSBO during the summer in NW Ohio.]
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