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August 24, 2009


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The Zen Birdfeeder

Ben and Mary, Thanks for the bald Blue Jay reports from Dallas TX and Manassas VA. Most reports (though not all!) are coming south of NY now. Interesting to see the movement of the reports.
James, cardinals are one of the other birds that are occasionally seen in this "condition". Thanks for your report!
Sally, thanks for the report from MN. Our birds are all grown back already so should be fine for yours too, though I heard parts of MN had snow last week!


I just saw one now at my bird feeder. I was worried about the bird, but now I see that this is a normal occurrence for August. I am in Minnesota, so I hope this bird has feathers on his head by the time the snow flies. I will have to make him a hat if not. lol.

James Trout

Saw a bald cardinal in Washington, DC when visiting family a year or two ago. Just got back from Istanbul, and saw one or two Hooded Crows in the same condition. I'd attach a picture if I knew how.


Bald jays here near manassas VA. Some pretty scroungy looking cardinals too!


Saw one today 9/18/14 in Dallas, Texas.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Scott, thanks for the report from Florida. Interesting how widespread it is!


South Florida. I have a few regulars to my yard that I feed, and I saw and got photos of one of them bald for the first time today.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Laura and Amy, thanks for your reports of bald jays in Kewanee IL and southwest Ohio. The occurrences should be on the decline!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Stacey, could be an interrupted predator strike (cat, hawk)? If you have sick birds, take time to (1) clean your feeders with weak bleach solution, rinse, air dry; (2) clean underneath the feeders, bagging and sealing the debris for the trash; (3) consider taking feeders down for a week or two to allow sick birds to disperse.


Bald blue Jay this morning in SW Ohio.

Laura Abbott

This August I've had both a bald blue jay and a bald cardinal at my feeder in Kewanee, Illinois.


We have had bald ones in the yard for weeks, but today there was a dead one laying in the middle of the yard. Doesn't look like a window strike. His tail feathers looked barely attached as well. First dead bird I've seen in a while. Last year I had lots of sickley and dead sparrows, but it rained more last year.

The Zen Birdfeeder

More bald Blue Jays in St. Petersburg, Florida. Thanks Chery for reporting in!

Chery Vaughan

Bald blue jays at my feeder in backyard, st. Pete FL.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Jeff, what I wonder is whether the propensity to molt like this is passed on to the next generation. Would be a great study for an ornithologist! Thanks for reporting from FL.
MK, glad to help and thanks for the report from NJ.


I also have a bald blue jay here in NJ. I thought it could me a molt and appreciate learning that to be true here. Thanks, Nancy!

Jeff N.

Had three bald jays at my feeder, see them every year here in Fort Myers Florida.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Thanks for the reports from NJ (Lake Hopatcong and Randolph), Lilitz PA, Warnerville NY and Colorado.
Wow, this is pretty amazing! Keep reporting your baldies!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Lisa, glad to help with your Blue Jay. Cardinals are also prone to this unusual molt. I'm not sure about your other one - sounds like maybe a titmouse that has a scraggly crest. Thanks for commenting and enjoy your birds!!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Barbara and Gail, thanks for checking in with your birds in 2 locations in Canada and in Kansas City, MO!

Luba Irwin

Many bald blue jays in Lititz, PA

Carol Flowers

Thank you so much for posting! I saw for the first time a bald blue jay and I was afraid he was sick. I am in Colorado by the way. Last year we lost our foxes to mange and our deer/elk to CWD. Thank Goodnes this is natural.


Just had a bald blue jay at my feeder. I live in Warnerville, NY. I have never seen that before so had to look it up.


I had one bald headed blue jay for the last week and today saw a second one. Thank goodness they're not ill. I live in Randolph, NJ.

Lisa Anne

Hi! I've got a bald Blue Jay here in Lake Hopatcong NJ. I have two Jays that come to the feeder but only one is bald. He's actually creepy it freaked me out, first time seeing one like this so I looked it up to make sure it wasn't diseased and voila! Here I am. I also have a cardinal and a little grayish bird with a mohawk but I don't know what that is, any ideas? Maybe a tittle mouse?

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  • Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.


  • Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.


  • Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.