The results of the Most Explosive Northern Cardinal Molt of 2008 in Central Park are in. Papa Museum wins the competition hands, er, feathers down.
Image: Bob Levy, author of Club George [larger].
The photographer, Bob Levy, writes;
Note: No cardinals were injured in this competition. Hey, I know he looks like an explosion in a mattress factory but it is a “natural” occurrence.
Also Note: There wasn’t a large number of competitors. Actually, it only included the six males I regularly observe but that does not detract from the arresting state of this fellow’s plumage does it?
And One Note More: Last year was first time I noticed a molting cardinal undergoing such a dramatic molt. That bird was Papa Meadow who held a different territory than this year’s winner. At the time I thought it must be a predisposition of that particular bird but now that I have found another male that has exhibited a similar trait I guess it’s more common than I assumed. It’s possible that last years male changed his territory but I doubt it. I have not read a description of a bird like this elsewhere. I wonder if this condition could be limited to this specific Central Park population? Hmm. Could you let me know if you have observed a Northern Cardinal in a similarly “explosive” state at this time of year.