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Monday, March 25, 2013

Molting

Just a few pictures from 24 March 2013 highlighting Surfbirds (Aphriza virgata) molting into breeding plumage.  Look for their new scapular feathers in the shoulder region.  

After looking gray throughout the winter, Surfbirds are now replacing their feathers with more colorful versions in preparation for the breeding season.  They haven't replaced all of them yet, so you'll see a combination of old and new feathers in these birds.  The new feathers look much "neater" and less worn.  Although variable among individual birds, many of the new feathers are black or dark gray with pale fringes, but some have very pretty rufous spots or blotches.




It's nice to see the Surfbirds getting dressed up for the breeding season!  (Remember that they'll be heading north to nest in the mountains of Alaska and the Yukon.  Most of them will depart the Bodega Bay region by the end of April.)

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