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Molting Blue Jay

It’s Molting Season for Local Blue Jays

Looking quite strange and bewildered in a local tree near you, be on the lookout for molting Blue Jays!

Caught in Guelph (and Area) community member Ashley Marie was a little perplexed in spotting the bald-headed Blue Jay in her tree in a post to group.

Blue Jays, like many bird species, undergo a process known as molting, where they shed and replace their feathers. This process typically occurs annually, usually in late summer after the breeding season. During molting, the Blue Jays shed some or all of their feathers, allowing new ones to grow in their place. The new feathers are usually more vibrant and in better condition, reflecting the bird’s health. Molting can cause Blue Jays to look somewhat disheveled, as the feathers don’t all fall out at once, and the new ones can take time to grow in fully.

The molting process is energy-intensive and can be a vulnerable time for Blue Jays, as the replacement of feathers may affect their ability to fly efficiently. This period requires an abundance of nutrients, and the birds often need to consume more food to support the growth of new feathers. Additionally, Blue Jays, particularly males, may become more reclusive during molting to avoid attracting attention from predators while their flight capabilities are temporarily diminished. The gradual process ensures that the bird never loses all of its feathers at once, allowing it to maintain some ability to fly and evade danger.

Head on over to the Caught in Guelph (and Area) community and join the conversation in Guelph today.

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