Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday - Brown Headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbird is definitely NOT the most popular bird on the street.  I've noticed people seem to get upset at the mere mention of them...and here I am not only mentioning them, but sharing photos!  These birds are nest parasites (sort of the ultimate delinquent parents).  They lay their eggs in the nests of other species like House Finches and Sparrows and the unlucky host species ends up raising a baby Cowbird instead of their own babies.





Here's a phot of an adult male that I took at Ryan's school one afternoon (and since the place is full of House Finches, Song Sparrows and other potential host species, I can only imagine it was either originally raised there or was scoping out future possibilities).




Either way, it was definitely giving me the eye...





...and eventually decided to yell at me.




Here's an example of nest parasitism in action...I took this photo back in July during our trip to Pacific Grove, CA, up in Northern California.  This is a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird about to be fed by a White-crowned Sparrow.




First...the incessant begging...




...and then the sparrow uses its parenting skills on the other species.

Cowbirds may not be the most popular subject, but I do find their MO to be rather fascinating...makes me wonder about the very first Cowbird to do this in the distant past and what the circumstances were that led up to it.  

KJ

http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com/2015/12/wild-bird-wednesday-177-buff-banded-rail.html


7 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Great series, the male Cowbird is handsome. I really like the sparrow shots too. Enjoy your day and week ahead!

Neil said...

Interesting post great photos of the Cowbird.

Christian Weiß said...

Wonderful birds.

TexWisGirl said...

even if they're terrible parents, i do think they're beauties! :)

Chris Rohrer said...

I think they are rather interesting birds. I especially love their calls. It's musical crystal water...if crystal water had a sound:)

Stewart M said...

Nice looking bird - even if it is not brightly coloured. I am often surprised that people get upset about the behaviour of wild animals - OK so this species is a nest parasite, but so what? Its not like it's a malicious act! People have the same reactions to hawks sometimes as well.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

EG CameraGirl said...

It makes me wonder how they "know" to lay their eggs in another bird's nest!