Monday, October 1, 2012

Quiet Molt Zone

Molting is an annual occurrence for the canary.  Typically the molt starts in summer following the hectic breeding season.  The bird's body responds to the amount of sunlight and probably other mysterious triggers as well, and the molt commences.

The canary is noticeably less jovial during the molt due to the stress of dropping and growing feathers.   He usually stops singing.

All the feathers do not fall out at once. The bird has no bald spots and can fly throughout the molting period.  The molt usually takes 6-8 weeks to complete. 

At this difficult time, offer the canary more protein such as boiled egg and oily seeds such as flax.  Some birders recommend extra vitamins and supplements also.

Canaries still need a bath everyday.  The cold water of a bath helps to soften the feather sheaths, easing the molting process.

For some 3 or 4 weeks, Shubert has been silent and feathers have littered the floor beneath his cage.  We're half way there!

Leave me alone, dammit.  I'm molting.
Some interesting stuff about bird molts
- the molt replaces some or all of the feathers.  If a feather was previously lost due to an accident, that feather will grow back first 
- the hard part of a feather is made up of protein keratin and considered dead - similar to hair and nails 
- molt frequency varies based on the species of bird, the environment and sometimes the age of the bird
- some birds have a pre nuptial molt- their plumage changes in time for the breeding season to attract a mate - examples: Bunting, Warbler 
- some birds molt twice a year- examples:  Wrens, Bobolinks
- some birds go though years of molts before they achieve adult plumage- examples:  Eagles, Gulls
- some birds molt once a year- examples: Owls, Chickadees


  1. Interesting post Lynn! I never knew birds molted. I guess I've always been naive about animal growth. Up until a year ago, I thought the only thing that molted were snakes. Then I found a shell of my crab in my fish tank, called the guy who sold it to me and told him it died. When he told me it molted I felt really silly! lol

  2. Thanks for the info... didn't know this!