• Why does this cardinal look this way?

    Question

    I am attaching a picture of a cardinal (??) which has been coming to my bird feeder (I live in Novelty). One zoologist I asked thought it was an ordinary cardinal with a mite problem, causing loss of head feathers. What is your take on it?

    Naturalist's Response

    Most likely, this cardinal is simply going through a molt into new feathers. For some reason, cardinals often molt all of their head feathers at the same time, appearing bald. We have seen dozens of cases like this over the years. -Naturalist Tami Gingrich