Jordan Lake. A study this morning in the process of molting in birds. To molt means the bird is changing out damaged and old feathers for a brand new set. All birds do this – in several different patterns. It just so happens that both the bald eagle (1st photo) and the Broad-winged hawk (2nd photo) do what is known as a sequential molt. They molt out the same section of flight feathers on each wing at the same time. Note that on both birds on each wing there are sets of feathers that are sticking out on the trailing edge with a matching set on the other wing. Not all birds do a sequential molt, it really depends upon the species. In this case it also helps me to know that the bald eagle is two-years-old. The Broad-winged hawk is an adult. The molt patterns do make them both look rather raggedy, doesn’t it! Oh and did you see the fish the eagle is carrying?
I added a new bird to my life list today.
I was near a small pond when a hawk dashed out of the trees.
I thought first that it was an Accipiter – maybe a Cooper’s hawk.
It wasn’t. It was a small Buteo.
The dark line along the trailing edges of the wings and the bold central white tail strip were diagnostic.
I had just seen a broad-winged hawk. 2 photos