A molting juvenile cardinal has red wings. This happens before the pre-formative molt. The baldness is caused by mites, which are small relatives of spiders and other arachnids. Males have bright red wings at this stage of their life. Once winter arrives, they will have a new set of feathers. During this period, they will also show a distinctive pattern.
The baldness is caused by the molting process. Old feathers are shed, while new ones grow in. Some cardinals lose all of their head feathers at once, and this condition results in a ‘bald’ head. This is not unusual, and jays, cedar waxwings, and other birds are known to suffer from this condition. When the crests fall off, the bird will have a black head.
After the molting process, the juvenile cardinal is ready to breed. The new feathers replace the old ones, and the old feathers become inactive. But in some cases, the head is bare, so the bird appears as though it is “bald” or “bareheaded”. If this is the case, it is not uncommon to see a molting female or male cardinal with no head feathers at all.
A molting juvenile cardinal has red or orange feathers and a bright red beak. It looks just like its dad at this stage, but it will change color before winter. It will have the same orange beak as his father. During the winter months, the molting male will look like his dad with red feathers and an orange beak. Then he will molt again. And this will repeat itself until the new feathers fall out.
If you notice a juvenile cardinal with a bald head, don’t worry. This is just normal. By the time the juvenile has molted, the bird will look just like its dad. It will have a red beak and scruffy head, just like his dad did. It will be just like him, with the same orange beak and red crest. This is how a molting juvenile cardinal looks after molting.
A molting juvenile cardinal’s scruffy head and bald head are normal features of molting. But if the bird has a crest, this means that it has been damaged. It may have a traumatic experience, but it will not have the same crest as its father. That means its crest is still intact and it’s a natural occurrence. When the feathers fall, the bird will look a lot like its dad.
A molting juvenile cardinal will lose all of its feathers, except for the red in its iris. If the molting process is a complete success, the bird will have all of its feathers in one week. It is an exciting time for the bird, and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to observe the bird in its natural habitat. If it’s successful, it will stay a beautiful resident.