One of the most fascinating phenomena in the avian world is that time of year when birds moult, that process of shedding feathers to make way for new growth. It’s also a time of year that corresponds with silence, and you may already have noticed a noticeable reduction of bird song in your gardens. This silence can almost feel as though your birds have decided to flee, but in reality it all boils down to a very basic natural mechanism that birds undergo in their yearly cycle of existence.
In fact, it is not only birds that experience the process of moulting; there are countless creatures across the animal kingdom that moult, and it is not uncommon to observe horns, skin and hair being replaced. In colder climates, certain mammals may shed their fur in order to develop a substantially thicker coat for protection throughout harsh and cold months; snakes, for instance, must shed their skin for the principle purpose of growing larger.
Typically for birds, feathers are replaced to remove old and damaged plumage, which may have become a burden after the hectic breeding and feeding seasons, general wear and tear and even considerable exposure to direct sunlight. This regrowth ensures a fresh and strong coat ready for the months ahead.