…and he brought his family. The female Northern Cardinal also appears to be losing the feathers on her head. So I learned that every year people report seeing these balding cardinals. I now like to think of them as vulture cardinals, but some people call them lizard-heads. Ornithologists generally think this is normal yearly molting, although in some cases, the cardinals might be suffering from head mites, lice, or some similar parasite. I’m inclined to think the original cardinal, a regular visitor to the birdfeeder, is not just going through a normal molt. It’s been well over a month since I first noticed his condition and his other feathers are normal and bright red. The female may be undergoing a regular molt while I’m guessing the third bird, shown below with duller red feathers and a lot of brown, is a juvenile.
Pandemic-related photo opportunity; all seen within about 20 minutes. Not shown: nuthatch, chipping sparrow (?), lurking gray squirrels.