California Towhee, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Don’t Cry for Me, Audubon | Aug 2016

Audubon, Sing with Me

California Towhee, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post Don't cry for me Audubon

California Towhee, Showing Molt

Don’t cry for me, Audubon.

You may think molt looks strange.

Just imagine how the bird must feel.

And yet they need your love,

after all they go through.

You might not believe what you see.

But they’re still the bird you knew.

Although they’re tattered and torn,

not really dressed as they used to be,

they choose freedom,

being able to fly with everything new.

Snowy Egret, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post Don't cry for me Audubon

Snowy Egret, Growing New Wing Feathers

So what is molt?

Molt is the replacement of feathers.

And birds molt throughout their lives, from juvenile plumage into adult plumage, from basic plumage into breeding plumage, and from worn plumage into new plumage.

Note that the two photos show different examples of molt.

The California Towhee has begun to shed worn shape feathers on its head. And the Snowy Egret is growing new wing feathers.

Most birds molt gradually and systematically. If they were to drop all their feathers at the same time, they’d have to walk.

So they go through a process that retains their ability to fly.

But some birds (such as ducks, loons, and grebes) undergo synchronous wing molt where they shed all their flight feathers at one time. Then they remain flightless for 3 to 5 weeks.

Thus, you may see some birds that look shabby, especially at the end of summer. They may even be difficult to recognize because they’ve lost characteristics commonly used to identify them.

In any case, wave a warm hello.

After all, kindness given to birds begins with kindness given to ourselves.

And that will always help you feel better.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

PS: See a better view of a California Towhee at:

Birds Up Close

Connection With Life

Help Birds Tip

Molt (But do this as a human)

Why: We need to be better caretakers of our planet.

How #1: Start by asking, Is this good for the earth?

How #2: Then replace worn, obsolete habits with new habits that are widely beneficial for all.

For example:

Eating organic foods leads to less pollution

Using less gas leads to less global warming

Shopping wisely leads to less waste.

Find practical ideas at:

5 Ways to Help Birds

10 Easy Ways to Save Money on Gas

Endangered Birds

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • jerry young
    Posted at 15:07h, 23 August

    Very interesting and helpful. Thank you

  • Eileen Brownell
    Posted at 21:11h, 23 August

    Love the info about molting!!!

  • DeltaT
    Posted at 08:24h, 25 August

    Thanks to you, Steve, I learned something new today. I had no idea that some birds loose their flight feathers all at one time and remain flightless for a long time. Without their ability to fly, they would be even more vulnerable to predators. Do humans have a sort of molting, too? Do we lose our “flight feathers” sometimes so we can better appreciate them when they’re restored?

  • Candace Cox
    Posted at 15:57h, 26 August

    I’m very fond of loons since spending summers at a lake in northern Minnesota. Steve shares info no one else does and in a very entertaining way.. Carry on, Steve. Carry on, molt!

  • Bob Franz
    Posted at 16:56h, 26 August

    And the Egret says, “”I don’t care how many wing feathers I have lost, I’m still prettier than you Towhee!

  • Mary
    Posted at 12:00h, 27 August

    Always love your blogs.

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