Moulting into Summer

First let me apologize for the lack of updates, the poor weather over the last week has continued to slow things down resulting in little to talk about and a lack of pictures.

However this week has already had a couple good days, one of which featured the highlight of the season! On the 31st (as luck would have it my day off), Debbie had a Black Vulture fly right past the count site! Impressively this is the third Black Vulture for the count , not bad for the furthest north hawkwatch in the state and one that’s that’s only been around for 6 years!

As the season winds down the flight becomes dominated by immature birds. At this point in the spring the immatures are moulting flight and tail feathers, with some its amazing they can even fly!

Compare this adult Broad-winged Hawk to the immatures below it

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Its not just the Broad-winged’s that moulting, here are a couple young Red-tailed’s with wing moult.RTHA15-2RTHA15

Sub-adult Bald Eagles always seem to moulting some flight feathers


Not as common at this time of year is an adult bird in moult, like this Peregrine Falcon missing a primary in each wing. Note that if a raptor looses a primary on one wing it will drop the same feather on the other wing in order to keep things balanced.


Also missing some feathers was this Common Raven, this is not moult related though and is likely due to some sort of trauma


Speaking of moulting, late May means its time for the annual non-breeding Canada Goose flight north. Geese moult all their flight feathers at once and are flightless until new feathers grow in, so the non-breeders head as far north as the James Bay to secluded areas to moult.


If you’ve made it this far you deserve a reward, so here’s a few better looking birds from around town.


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