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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thursday's Tirade Re Interfering with Feathers

The photograph of a Northern cardinal that is atop this entry is one I took when I was in Central Park this past February and the image came to my mind when I read some disturbing news re a study done on male Northern cardinals by a researcher (L. LaReesa Wolfenbarger) associated with Cornell University.
Evidently (according to a WBU Web-Page) Wolfenbarger wanted to answer these questions: "When you watch the cardinals at the feeders, do you notice little scuffles between males for dominance? Does their red coloration function as a signal of status? What if a redhead went blonde for a season? Would they drop in the pecking order?

Supposedly, the research involved capturing "30 male Northern Cardinal birds with a similar red coloration and 1/3 were given a Clairol Professional “Torch Crimson” treatment to deepen their red color, 1/3 were lightened with an “Ultra Blonde” treatment and 1/3 were left the same color."

The aforementioned WBU Web-Page points out that "A cardinal goes through one full molt in the fall, and their health, and how well they are eating determines how red their plumage will be for the following year. The redder cardinals are usually the more dominant birds."

Because of this tendency with Northern cardinals, "The researchers wanted to know what happens if you take cardinals all the same shade of red and make some lighter and some darker. Released the next day after their male beauty treatments, the scientists observed to see if color played a roll in dominance during the non-breeding season," claims the WBU Page author.

When I saw this in my Twitter newsfeed, "my feathers" were more than ruffled: Capturing birds to put chemicals (from hair coloring products) on their feathers is awful in my not so humble opinion!

The very idea makes me cringe, as you might surmise dear reader, since you undoubtedly know birds, especially cardinals, are near and dear to my heart as evidenced by my writings on social media venues as well as in my book series, Words In Our Beak, where the stories are told from the perspective of a cardinal (albeit a female).

I can well imagine what Cam the story teller of in these books might have to say about L. LaReesa Wolfenbarger's research.

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:
book culture On Columbus (a bookstore on the UWS in NYC):

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:

Volume Three: ISBN: 978099637853
Now available on Amazon @ and can be ordered from any place selling books by giving them the title and/or ISBN, which once again is 978099637853.

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