Project FeederWatch

Photo Submission

Submitted By

Bob Vuxinic -

Crossville, TN, United States


Blue Jays of all ages have a “bald stage” in which all capital-tract feathers, those on the head, are dropped nearly simultaneously, resulting in individuals being nearly bald for about a week. The first photo was taken on September 4th, and the second was taken 5 days later. In another 4 days, the bird looked just about normal.


Bald Stage Of A Molting Blue Jay

Bald stage of a molting Blue Jay

Recent Comments (8)

  • Laura Adams says:

    Last year I had a female Northern Cardinal, completely baldheaded, at my birdfeeder for several weeks. My pictures were not the greatest but I did get a few photos. I was glad to see the articles in this website that mentioned that this happened among cardinals.

    Thanks for all of your news!

  • Barbara says:

    I’m seeing a juvenile bald-headed cardinal at my feeder lately. I’m sure it’s a juvenile, as he still is doing the wing-flutter thing, begging to be fed, although he eats independently. I wonder if the unusual dry and hot conditions this summer have prompted more of this than usual. I don’t recall seeing the phenomenon in other summers.

  • Portia McCracken says:

    There are several bald male cardinals around Greensboro NC. I was very curious when I saw the first one earlier in the spring, and then I grew alarmed when I saw more. There’s one outside my front window now, enjoying the birdbath with a number of other birds of different species.

    I have a lot of blue jays here, as well, but they all appear to be in full plumage.

    These bald cardinals are very worrisome, and I’m concerned their condition could spread to other species. Have there been any new developments in the research?

  • Lisa Knudsen says:

    I live in Fort Collins, CO. Last summer I saw a bald-headed Blue Jay drinking from the birdbath on several successive days. I figured that he or she was a youngster but I had never seen one before.

  • Heidi Armbruster says:

    We have a bald headed Baltimore Orieole at our hummingbird feeder, do they loose feathers like the blue jays?

  • Thanks Bob,
    and many thanks to Kent, at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, for taking the time
    in explaining why two of my feeder blue jays, looked more like Steller hybrids,, almost all of their of their crown, nape and chin,, were black,, even the crests..
    They were not bald, just black,,,all black..

    posted one picture..

  • Gary Behrle says:

    We have lived here in Windsor, Colorado for six years now and have fed the blue jays peanuts all that time. This is the first year that we’ve seen the bald headed jays. Such a dramatic change! Glad to know that it’s normal.

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