Birds have thousands of feathers, and each one is subject to wear and tear, which leads to molting. So what is molting and how do birds molt? 
Molting is the process by which birds shed old or worn feathers and grow new ones to replace them. A molt may be partial and replace just some of a bird's feathers or complete when all the feathers are replaced at once. According to different species, the time it takes to complete a molt is also different. It can take as little as two weeks, or as long as several years. Some birds molt their feathers only once a year, while others molt many times.
In general, feathers are molted in a symmetrical pattern across the bird's wings, tail, and body so it retains its balance for flight. The entire cycle typically takes 5-12 weeks.
As feathers age, the quills loosen in their shafts and it is not until they are ready to fall out that new feathers begin to grow. The new feathers then create visible gaps in a bird's plumage, particularly in the wings and tail where shorter feathers are more noticeable.
Molting requires a tremendous amount of energy, and birds do not molt during the breeding season or migration periods when that energy is needed for nesting or traveling. The most common molting period is just after the breeding season when food sources are still abundant. The second most common period is just before the breeding season when food sources are increasing.
🔴Tips: Unlike hair and fingernails that continually regenerate and grow, a feather is a complete structure and no longer grows once it reaches full size.
Backyard bird feeders can help ease the dangers of molting by providing a rich, reliable food source for birds to take advantage of, along with safe, secure shelter for birds that become more elusive and shy while molting. If birds trust their habitat to meet their molting needs, they will stay around during this uncertain period, giving bird feeders the opportunity to witness molting firsthand and enjoy ever more intimate knowledge of their favorite feathered friends.
Well, anyway, looking forward to seeing their beautiful new feathers.
February 23, 2024 — Estelle Yang

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