We receive many inquiries about bald birds, especially Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals. In late summer and fall, when a bird molts, it usually grows and replaces its feathers gradually, but occasionally a bird loses all the feathers on its head at once. This is particularly true of Blue Jays, many
Had a number of molting cardinals in my yard several years ago but haven't seen any since, thought it might be a genetic thing since it occurred over three summers and then died out. One female lost all but one long crest feather and we named her Pocahontas.
Rarely see it myself...maybe only the 3rd or 4th time in my life, LOL.
I've read that when Cardinals, Blue Jays, etc, are going through this, they become reclusive, which would probably account for reduced sightings...
I set up a feeder this year and have been seeing something like a cardinal with odd head feathers, no crest. I thought it was a different species but I could not find it in any of the books. Now I know it's just a cardinal molting. Thank you for the lesson.