Bald Cardinal

This is the third year I’ve seen this guy and every summer he sports a chrome dome! The first year, I was quite worried about him. How would he survive the winter? Would he fly South? Luckily, in September, I noticed feathers growing back and by October, his full, red crest was back. I figured it was a mite or bug thing and figured the cold killed them off. The second year, when it happened again, I researched what was happening to the guy.

I found out baldness may result from feather mites, lice or an environmental or nutritional imbalance. Often in those cases, growths or a scabby coating can be seen on the skin. My Cardinal had a clean, black head, which indicates he was healthy. So now what?

Since he was otherwise healthy and the feathers did come back, he most likely has some issues with molting. Birds usually lose random feathers and they get replaced without a notice. Something in his wiring is off and instead of randomly, he lost them all at once. Blue Jays are known to be afflicted with this same pattern balding. There does seem to be a few wild hairs coming back. Hopefully, he’ll again grow back his beautiful crest.

While researching for this post, I came across a fun page on the Project Feeder Watch website called Unusual Birds. Check it out for some funky chickens πŸ˜‰

imageΒ Β Β Β  image

I’ve been ready to write this post for two years… It’s taken me 3 years to finally get a picture of this skitty bird!!

Β© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

33 thoughts on “Bald Cardinal

  1. hahaha He does look scratty, but hey, he’s still here! πŸ™‚
    And Well Done on finally getting the photo – I know what you mean, and also have a ‘bird’ post sitting in my drafts!
    As to the odd birds in your link – maybe some of these mutations might eventually lead to better survival? Who knows, but I like the Papa Smurf Blue Jay! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Male pattern molting? πŸ˜‰

    We had guineas when I was growing up and there are turkeys next door, so sometimes I forget most birds are supposed to have feathers on their neck and head. I’d have been like “mini red guinea!!” if he was on my feeder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The poor bird. Nice pic of him. Now for a bit of humor. Do birds have hair or feathers? πŸ™‚

    As an added note. We have lots of cardinals in the southwest. I always have 3- 4 pair when I keep the feeders going. In the summer I don’t put out food or water in an effort to deter the squirrels that ravage my fig trees.

    Liked by 1 person

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