Juvenile feathers differ in quality and are often identified as "loosely textured," as in those on the breast of the SOSP above. Juvenile feathers have the barbs on their shaft arranged farther apart creating the loosely textured appearance.
Take a look at this confusing hatching year Chipping Sparrow (CHSP)
HY "Chippers" have a streaked breast, much different than the completely
plain breast of the adult.
yellowish gape as an adult.
two molts before next spring.
characteristic dark triangle of the adult.
the faint eyebrow that MAWR exhibits.
juvenile feathers and fleshy gape.
Some birds, like this Eastern Wood-Pewee (EAWP), are not as obviously different
in their juvenile plumage from the adults.
Body molt in birds occurs in feather tracts that occur longitudinally down their breast and back. It is apparent here on this molting HY Northern Cardinal (NOCA).You can determine the sex of a NOCA once this molt begins. Note also the dark bill coloration which assists in determining it as a HY bird.
This HY Yellow Warbler (YWAR) is molting but still shows the whitish downy feathers down the center of its breast from its juvenile plumage.
Eye color, spotted breasts, loosely textured feathers, over accentuated gape, and lighter or darker bill coloration are good indicators of HY birds.
Here are a few for you to identify!
Well, how did you do? If you answered: Gray Catbird (GRCA), Brown Thrasher (BRTH), and American Robin (AMRO), then you know your youngsters!
There is no quiet time for the bird bander. With summer breeding bird surveys safely in the books, we will be starting fall migration soon. This will be an important fall as we watch for potential population ramifications following last spring's low bird numbers. BSBO will keep you informed of migration from every perspective. Follow us here on the Bander's Blog, on the BSBO research pages, and on Kenn Kaufman's Birding the Crane Creek - Magee Birding, for all the latest information on fall migration.