Objects Stuck in Bird's Feathers

Can anyone tell me what is stuck in this robin’s feathers and how those “foreign objects” got there? It was foraging for food in the grass when I observed it today in urban parking lot, Southern Ontario, Canada.

Those are its own feathers. Can be due to trauma or moult.


yup. looks like just feathers in disarray to me, too.

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Thank you! I was worried about what had happened. I haven’t been watching birds this closely before so I’m learning.


I have now subscribed to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of the World and looked up the molt of the American Robin. I couldn’t find it anywhere else. And the robin’s molt occurs late in the summer (July to September) so this robin must have encountered trauma. See article at https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/amerob/cur/appearance#molts.


I don’t know if there is any parallel, but mallards get malformations called “Angel Wings” that look a bit like that. I can’t remember for sure but it think it’s caused by malnourishment from eating people food.

Here’s a mallard with the condition

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I agree those are the robin’s own feathers, damaged and twisted. They’ll probably remain like that and eventually be replaced during molt.

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