Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wednesday Wings - Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbirds are obnoxious in so many ways. They're strongly built, aggressive, and dominate all the smaller, gentler songbirds.

They don't bother to build a nest. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nest of any bird they can dominate. The host bird unknowing hatches the Cowbird egg(s) and raises the Cowbird chick(s).

The hatchling Cowbirds are large, demanding, and rude. They take over the nest getting most of the food. The unwitting host's hatchlings go hungry, sometimes to the point of death.

Even at the feeding board, this Cardinal knows it wants nothing to do with this horrid female Cowbird.

Yesterday there were three female Cowbirds at the feeder. Each one has two to three dozen eggs a summer to deposit in an unsuspecting nice bird's nest.

This picture was taken at the end of nesting season last summer.

The young Cowbird is still harassing its adoptive parents, a male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It wants to be fed. NOW!!!! And again and again.

Mr. and Mrs. Rosy are trying hard to make the demanding Cowbird happy, but it's impossible.

This picture was also taken at the end of nesting season last summer.

A worn out female Towhee feeding her Cowbird parasite.


Kathy... said...

Hmmmm..... sounds like adoption to me. I raised two of those pesky little characters! LOL!

Mrs. Susan Wike said...

Yes, those cowbirds can just move along as far as I'm concerned. For some reason they and the blackbirds only stop in for a brief, tumultuous time, then keep moving.
Don't like em!!! Like the yellow finches and rose finches. Like the indigo bunting. Hate the cowbirds!

Susan said...

We have black birds around here that are obnoxious like the cowbirds, although not to the point of leaving their eggs for others to hatch and raise. I don't know their real name but my grandmother called them grackles. They're scavengers and bully the other birds. They steal eggs and murder young birds. The robins, in particular, seem to be their targets. Nasty things. They look like biker gangs hanging out in their shiny black coats.

Ann said...

Great pictures especially the last one. I can never take such good shots.

Alwen said...

My mom is pretty tender-hearted, but I remember her taking a cowbird chick out of a nest once when I was a kid. (Maybe the contrast was what made me remember that.)

Cowbird chicks will kick themselves in a circle in the nest when they are little and just-hatched, and kick the other eggs or chicks right out of the nest.

I can't love them.

Jean said...

I love animals, but these birds would be quite a challenge. The Hepatica flower was absolutely beautiful. (I would love a yarn this color)

Judy S. said...

Great photos once again, Marguerite. I've never seen a cowbird and am wondering if they come this far west...have to check the bird book, but if they don't it sounds like a good thing!

Kathleen C. said...

Did/have you ever read the old comic Pogo? Two of the least pleasant characters in it were the cowbirds.

Lisa said...

Wow I didn't know all of that info about the cowbirds. I haven't seen them here but if I do I might not be nice to them. (especially if I see them harassing my much loved Titmouse or Cardinals)

gemma said...

I think these are what we call the Cuckoo because of the noise they make. There are poems about them such as Ode to the Cuckoo by William Wordsworth. Gemma (Coventry, England)

Marie said...

So Marguerite, like cowbirds much? hehe