Getting Fit Feathers
Notice the feathers sticking up. A crane is normally sleek, and only has "bad hair days" when it is molting — shedding
old feathers so new feathers can grow and replace them. Feathers get worn out on the
crane's long migrations. Strong, new feathers will be important to help
the crane make the journey south
in autumn. The new feathers must last through winter and the crane's journey north to the nesting grounds in spring. The crane doesn't need the strong flight feathers as much in summer, when it may be busy tending its flightless new chick on the ground for several weeks.
molting a dangerous time for Whooping cranes? What clues about the
molting season does the photo show us?
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