Untidy Birds

It’s not all that uncommon to come across a bird that has lost some of its facial or head plumage (I posted a similar shot a few years ago), but it was slightly bizarre to see two bald birds within a few minutes of each other.

The first one was a blackbird. I suspect it’s a juvenile (rather than a female). The second blackbird (in the background of the first shot) was entirely normal.

Blackbird with bald head

Blackbird with bald head

The second was a great tit, looking extremely tatty. If you look closely you can see most of the facial feathers are missing.

Bald great tit

It’s difficult to identify a cause in single sightings. One possibility is a slightly erratic moult, which is certainly feasible at this time of year. Mites or ticks can also cause baldness, though ticks are usually visible. Generally the feathers will re-grow in a few weeks, so the condition is likely to be temporary.

Thankfully not all the birds were in quite such an unkempt state, though this young thrush was having some difficulty clearing away some webbing that had become attached to it.

Thrush cleaning webbing

It took a juvenile blue tit to provide a decent photo of a tidy bird. Seems late in the season, but there it was.

blue tit fledgling

At least the herring gulls were behaving impeccably as they marched out of the pond and on to the sandy bank.

marching herring gulls

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

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  1. derwandersmann August 1, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    Like one of those days when it seems that all you see are pregnant women, eh?

    • Words August 2, 2014 at 12:11 am #

      dW, can’t say I’ve noticed many days like that! But I kinda know what you mean. Once you see something, it sets up a pattern of recognition.