Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Monday, September 19, 2016
Molting birds aren’t sick or in pain…it’s natural
Around this time of year,
lots of birds look shopworn, unkempt and raggedy. Don‘t worry about it!
Birds lose some or all of
their feathers on a regular basis. It’s called “molting”, and the regularity of
it depends on the species. New totally-normal feathers grow back.
Feathers are NOT alive,
but are keratin much like hair or fingernails on humans. When they get too
worn, the birds’ bodies slough them off and new ones grow. This helps them stay
warm when needed. Usually it’s simply due to the ravages of time, and our
climate, that wear out feathers. But other causes may be at fault.
A common reason is microscopic
mites which occur on all birds. Normally, a bird preens them off using his
beak. But in areas that the bird can’t reach (like the neck or head) the mites
may overpopulate and ruin a lot of feathers.Winter weather will take care of mites, but the birds look bad for a
There’s no need for you
to worry about it. There’s nothing for you to do but wait for cooler weather
to solve the problem naturally.
Owen Yost, in addition to blogging, is a Landscape
Architect emeritus from here, who‘s worked in north Texas for over 30
years.He is a member of the American
Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Society of Landscape
Architects, the National BirdFeeding Society, National Wildlife Federation and
the Audubon Society. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award by the
Native Plant Society of Texas. His design office is at firstname.lastname@example.org