Paco, Paz, and Pepe are all currently well into their annual molt, which started to really kick into full swing a little over a month ago. This is our first full molt with them. When we brought them home last year, their molts had already begun, so this has been a really interesting experience for us to share.
As usual, I’ve been snapping away to document this amazing process. I thought I’d share a little photo journal with you of our first molt together…
Because we have not just one, but Three-Cans, the feathers are literally flying around here. I am not able to collect them all, as many fly by the wayside or end up stuck in a pile of papaya poop, but I am able to gather up enough that I can almost build my own toucan at this point!
Each time I pick up one of their discarded feathers, the Three-Cans give me looks that I can only interpret as disgusted disapproval. They can’t seem to fathom why I would want the old, shabby feather that just dropped from their body and they make no effort to disguise their disdain as I slip them into my treat pouch. Ah, well. One toucan’s trash is this Toucan Lady’s treasure. 😉
To me, the new pin feathers look painful as they emerge from the skin.
But the birds don’t appear to be in any pain – just itchy. During the molt, they spend a lot of extra time bathing,
and preening. Paco has been extra-snuggly, preferring me to do the majority of his preening for him.
My favorite feathers are these tiny ones. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they came from a much smaller bird.
We were surprised to discover that their white chest feathers are not just solid white as they appear,
but black on the tips, which is what creates the shockingly perfect line of their bib.
The most interesting feathers by far are the red under tail feathers. You would assume by looking at them on the Cans that the feathers that would drop would be all red.
But instead, they are very soft, delicate, and wispy and actually transition in color beginning at their base from black, to white, to red.
Nature never ceases to amaze me. The attention to detail that went into creating these stunning birds is nothing short of incredible. Time and time again, my life with the Three-Cans reminds me that it’s by noticing the little things that you experience a true sense of appreciation for the big things.
For a little action to accompany these pics, here’s a video of Paco doing some sunshine preening…