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Submitted By

Kathleen Jacques

Marietta, NY, USA


I notice that the last birds at the feeder at dusk are Cardinals, so I often look for them then. Yesterday I saw the strangest sight – a bird that looked like a female Cardinal with NO TAIL FEATHERS! She was in the bushes right next to my feeders (also I broadcast some sunflower seeds on my raised deck in the winter), and she looked stubby, with what appeared a permanently raised crest and a thicker than usual beak. Normally there are 2 or 3 Cardinals at that time (often what appear to be a mated pair), but she came alone.

I’ve been enthusiastically watching birds forever, but “Stubby” is a first!



Female Cardinal Has No Tail Feathers But Seems To Function Normally.

Femae Northern Cardinal appears to have permanent raised crest. She has no tail feathers.

9 replies on “Female Cardinal has no tail feathers but seems to function normally.”

Roy says:

Yep! She had a stress molt! Cardinals can immediately eject their tail feathers while escaping a predator. This will often confuse a Coopers Hawk enough for her to get away. Now it will take 4-6 weeks to grow back. We have one here too. We are in South Jersey.

Kinda thought it was something like . . . she’s quite vital and beautiful . . . seems to have little trouble getting about . . .

Michelle Cook says:

Already did . . . up above

Clare says:

Have a female Cardinal with no tail feathers in Abbeville, La

Tricia says:

Had a male cardinal at my feeder just now–no tail. So males too?

Michele says:

Several times today, I have seen a male cardinal at my feeder with no tail feathers. I’m in Georgia.

Brandy says:

Saw one today here in Virginia, a first for me!!

Vanessa says:

Glad I found this post! I have a tail-less female cardinal visiting my bird bath. She flies just fine. I’m in Georgia.

Linda Ehrlich says:

I took a male cardinal away from my cat today. He managed to get away and up into a tree. He now has no tail feathers. I am so glad to learn that he may be able to survive1

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