6 June 2015 – first molt

Decorah's first molt of feathers in June 2015 -- at the right time of the year!

Decorah’s first molt of feathers in June 2015 — at the right time of the year!

Now is the time for birds of many species to be molting out old feathers and growing in new feathers. Raptors molt one or two feathers at a time so that they can still fly and hunt. This is different from many waterfowl that drop all the flight feathers shortly after nesting, this keeps the adults on the ground to protect their young (waterfowl and shorebird young are termed precocial, meaning they stay on the ground and when hatched are able to move about and forage with the adults almost immediately).

Well, our boy Decorah is molting! Which again, is totally normal. This is correct photo-period that stimulates hormonal activity that says, “molt!” However, with Decorah and his tail feathers, this is a very important juncture in his growth. If you’re like many of us, you’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve read that he’s dropped tail feathers.

Given the situation with his tail feathers, we want to give Decorah every opportunity to have a no-stress period to grow in new feathers. This also means, for now, his training is on hiatus. Training can be stressful. He is not going to be moved from the 20×20 ICU room as moving can be stressful. He still gets daily interaction with Kay and interns, but no stress.