Skip Navigation

Species Search:
Ask an Expertthreatened and/or endangered

Blue jays with thinning neck feathers

I have attracted multiple blue jays to my feeder at my back deck. Several of these blue jays have very thin or no neck and head feathers. Their bills also appear longer than a typical blue jay. They almost have the head appearance of a woodpecker. We have recently had a blue jay in our area diagnosed postmortumly with West Nile and this has concerned me that maybe my blue jays are sick as well, or is this a different variety of blue jay. They've had this appearance for about 3 weeks now and don't appear to be sick in any other manner. Please help me to identify these birds.

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

The blue jays are not sick. They are in the molt, which is a changing of feathers from summer to winter plumages. They may also have some head mites, which are common among blue jays and cardinals. The feathers will be replaced, and the birds will be fine.

New Search