Simon Walker's picture


Observed: 24th October 2013 By: Simon WalkerSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in Birds
Dunnock, Rye Meads, 2013-10-24 002

Not seen many recently. None, in fact. Moulting I suppose.

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ophrys's picture


They should have finished moulting a while ago. Dates given for completon of moult are between late August and mid October, but most I see are finished moulting by late September. It could explain why they have not been visible, though, as they skulk around in the undergrowth. They are not as sedentary as often thought, and some certainly do move away from their summer territory for the winter...another possible reason for not seeing any.


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Simon Walker's picture

Thanks, Ian

I haven't spotted the little devils skulking, either (what a super word that is!). Probably need to keep my eyes peeled. It'll be interesting to see if I see more of them over the next few weeks.
I wonder what triggers the moult: is it the weather,the temperature, or length of the days; or the completion of raising a brood (though I doubt that - there would be implications for rearing multiple broods in a year). Or something else? According to Cornell University, "Molting occurs in response to a mixture of hormonal changes brought about by seasonal changes. The entire process is complex and many questions remain regarding how the process is controlled."
And the American Singer Canary website say light and temperature can trigger moulting. Lots of canaries start moulting after Christmans because their owners keep their homes warmer, and the lights on later. Hmm.

Would it be the same triggers for mammals? My cat, which is (a) old and (b) sedentary, doesn't moult much at all. Some I've known shed hair like there's no tomorrow.



Ray Turner's picture


Many cats moult as a result of the heating going on. Some house cats, as mine is, get totally confused and moult pretty much continuously (Why can’t it be the other way round? Oh why?).