Last year, I was surprised to see a male cardinal with a patch of feathers missing atop his head. The exposed skin resembled a “flattop” haircut. This year the same bird seems to have returned, or another with the same condition, showing a head completely bare of any trace of feathers. My sister thought she saw the same bird in her yard, but it had a jaunty feather still attached like an ornery cowlick. I researched the condition and found an article on the phenomenon of cardinals losing their head feathers.
“Seasonally, a few birds are attacked by feather mites, tiny arthropods whose feeding destroys feather shafts. Normally, the birds would divest themselves of these mites by preening, but birds cannot effectively preen their own heads. Once the mites have destroyed their food source on the birds’ heads, they must either move on to a new victim or place themselves in jeopardy on another area of their host’s body.”
There is so much to see and discover in the amazing world God has created. Take a walk, sit and swing, look out a window today and enjoy the wonder of nature all around you. You might even spot a cardinal with a flattop haircut. 😀