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feather growth and molt


In the discussion of feather length, molt, and flight someone mentioned
pelicans. For the Brown Pelican, one of North American's largest flying
birds incubation runs 29-32 d., then ~50d to fledgling, and the first
flight occurs at 60-80 d (depends on geography). It takes another 3-5
years to assume adult plumage. Molting in the definitive basic (ie adult)
plumage takes 3-4 months to complete. Different groups of feathers are
molted at different times. Molt in remiges and retrices is bilaterally
symmetrical. This means they never lose the ability to fly. The  plumage
pattens of the immature years are variable and little studied (unlike
gulls, for example, where each year is specific). 

There are no published data on the growth rates of the primary feathers
that I am aware of. 

Alan H Brush
92 High Street
Mystic, CT. 06355
(860) 572-1717