The most critical period of feather molting runs from late August to early September. When viewed in flight, they have a misaligned or “moth-eaten” appearance and generally slower and more laborious travel. Their mobility is reduced due to the lack of several remiges or rectrices or these are not entirely renewed. Most of the red-winged blackbird have moved almost entirely by October. By then, some birds have not completed the molt of the feathers of the capital region and the helmsmen of the center of the tail and the internal secondary sprouts have only partially emerged from the pod. Virtually all individuals have completed their molts by mid-October.
Brown-headed Cowbird (F)
The brown-headed cowbird is an obligate brood parasite: it lays its eggs in the nests of other small passerines (perching birds), particularly those that build cup-like nests. The brown-headed cowbird eggs have been documented in nests of at least 220 host species, including hummingbirds and raptors. The young cowbird is fed by the host parents at the expense of their own young. Brown-headed cowbird females can lay 36 eggs in a season. More than 140 different species of birds are known to have raised young cowbirds. Unlike the common cuckoo, the brown-headed cowbird is not divided into gentes whose eggs imitate those of a particular host.
Some host species, such as the house finch, feed their young a vegetarian diet. This is unsuitable for young brown-headed cowbirds, meaning almost none survive to fledge.