Burien, Washington

Andy Waters, Pat Toth, Rhonda Ham

We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.

Burien, Washington

15858 First Avenue South #106
Burien, WA 98148

Phone: (206) 241-3201
Fax: (206) 241-3741
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Comments:
Located near Trader Joe's at the Five Corners shopping mall

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Mewsings from Millie

Hello and Welcome Back to my Mewsings!

Molt. Molt! MOLT! What a funny sounding word! I heard one of my people using it and wondered what it meant.

I found out that it means when a bird replaces old feathers with new feathers.

A molt can be full or partial. A full molt means a bird replaces all of its feathers.A partial molt means it replaces some of its feathers. An example of this is the American Goldfinch. In the fall, it replaces all of its feathers. In the spring it replaces just the body feathers and the male becomes bright yellow in hopes of finding a mate.

Most backyard feeder birds molt from July to September. Some, like the Downy Woodpecker and Mourning Dove, molt through October. American Goldfinches can molt through December.

Typically, birds molt feathers in regular patterns or on specific parts of their bodies. It may take weeks or months for a bird to complete a molting cycle. During this time, every molting bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation. They also need extra fat for energy to grow the feathers and provide proper coloration.

 Some birds, like ducks and geese, expend so much energy during molting that they are unable to fly making them vulnerable to danger and predators. So, watch out for them during molting time!

Protein is essential for growing strong feathers. Feathers are over 90% protein, primarily keratins. A bird's feathers contain 25% of the total protein found within its entire body.

Lipids are substances such as fat, oil or wax (usually from tree fruits). Dietary lipids supply energy, essential fatty acids and pigments and are essential for feather coloration.

The colors in feathers come from different pigments found in lipids: red, orange and yellow to violet come from carotenoid pigments; black, brown, gray and related colors come from melanin and porphyrin pigments; greens come from carotenoid and melanin pigments combined with structural feather elements; blue and white colors are not created by pigments but by reflections of light off a feathers structure.

If a bird's diet is low in proteins and fats, feathers may be improperly colored, frayed or curved. This could make it difficult to attract a mate or seriously hinder flying or insulation abilities.

So, food is very important during molting time. If you are one of those people who like to feed birds, be sure to offer food that is high in fats and protein.

I, myself, can't imagine losing all of my hair and growing it all back again. That sounds totally exhausting!

Just another amazing aspect of birds.

Until next time,

Millie the Muse of Mews