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Wild facts: shabby songbirds
Brown thrasher
The brown thrasher, Georgia’s state bird, and many other songbirds molt in late summer, shedding their worn-out feathers - photo by Photo provided.
The feathers on many songbirds look a bit ragged in late summer, with some birds having bare spots on their bodies or balding heads. This loss of feathers is called molting, and it is completely normal.
After the breeding season, birds gradually lose their worn-out feathers and get new ones by fall. Wing feathers are lost only one at a time on each wing, and new feathers grow in before more are dropped - that way the bird can still fly. All birds go through a late-summer molt, and some species will molt again in the spring to get brightly colored plumage for breeding season.  

Wild facts is a regular feature written by Linda May, environmental outreach coordinator with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division.
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