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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cowbirds





I had a tree full of them the other day!
The cow bird is mostly known for laying their eggs
in the nests of other birds so they don't have to care
for their own young.  Many times the baby cow birds are
larger than their adoptive parents, like sparrows, and the
struggle is real in keeping up with the demands of feeding
a very large hungry baby along with their own little ones.
And with those brown heads and black bodies, they look
kind of evil, don't they?  Tisk, tisk.


35 comments:

  1. Wow, I never knew that before. Nasty birds!!!! Making unsuspecting birds, take care of theirs!

    Yes, they do look nasty!!!!!

    Beautiful photo captures though.

    Luna Crone

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    1. They look dark and sinister, don't they?

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  2. Nice shots of the Cowbirds which is a variety unknown to me. I guess they are a little like our Cuckoos which are laid in other bird's nests, usually smaller . . . same sort of thing . . :)

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    1. I didn't know that Cuckoos did that, too!

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  3. Oh a kind of cuckoo. Very glossy and smart looking. I guess they need to look smart to sneak into other birds' nests.

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  4. They lay their eggs in other birds nests because they have to keep up with the herd of cows, they are insect feeders and follow the insects that cows stir up. Easier for them to lay their eggs with others and hopefully they'll get raised, like modern day sharecroppers.
    I've always thought they were pretty birds. You have captured yours beautifully.
    ~Jo

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    1. I have never heard that before. Seems like they could live in trees at a cattle farm and not move anywhere and raise their own young. Very interesting....

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  5. We have had awful encounters with cowbirds. I learned about them the hard way...once we had 5 bluebird eggs and one cowbird egg in the same nest. I didn't know what to do. The cowbird hatched first. The adult bluebirds fed it. By the time the bluebirds hatched, the cowbird was huge and dominated the bluebird babies. They all died of starvation. One day, the cowbird baby flew out of the bluebird box and landed in the grass. Much to my horror, Buster ate it. Hmmmmm. It was like a soap opera. I learned a lesson from that experience.
    http://didyoubringyourcamera.blogspot.com/2009/05/cowbirds.html

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    1. Oh goodness...what a story! So, what would you do next time? Remove the egg before it hatched so the bluebird babies could live? Or something else?

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    2. Just read your post and got my answer! Yes, I would do the same.

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    3. It was tough, but my bluebird expert friend highly suggested removing the egg. It was much easier to remove a newly laid egg. If the big cowbird baby hatched, I couldn't emotionally get rid of it. This might be too long of an answer, but last year summer I did take a few photos of a nest in my yard. ( and you know it's a physical struggle for me now) I was glad to have a nest close by. It was too high to see into. The babies hatched. Looked like 5. One week later, there was only one. Eventually it flew away. When the nest fell, there were dead babies in it....so heartbreaking. Later I looked at the photos of the 5 again. One had a different shape and mouth color. Subtle....but there. It was a cowbird.😢

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  6. Gorgeous photos of the Cowbirds. I had a mess of them raiding my feeders last spring. I finally had to stop putting out food so that they would move on.

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    1. I don't see them often here and they don't hang around! I guess I should be glad for the sake of the
      poor sparrows!

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  7. We always have quite a few of them. They are bad parents!

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    1. You have cattle, right? Do they stay and eat the insects around them?

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  8. I've never heard of a cowbird. I know you said they are black, but in these photos they look a beautiful shade of dark teal. Nice pictures . . . thanks for sharing:)

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    1. Very interesting. They are blackest black on my computer...and in person!

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  9. Great shots, Betsy!
    They look blue to me too...interesting!
    I see and hear them out at the cottage, but not here at home.
    Those berries in that tree sure attract a lot of visitors!!
    Enjoy your evening...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. I think those crab apples are the only thing with color out there! haha.
      Birds can see them from far away!

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  10. It is a strange instinctual behavior. I don't think I have ever seen one before even though I have heard about their stories. Great captures of the birds.

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    1. They were really easy to photograph...unlike those quick moving titmouses! haha.

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  11. We have some around here too and I hate seeing them. They messed with a nest in our back yard tree last year - makes me mad!

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    1. Oh, no! That's too bad! I rarely see them here and don't have any knowledge of them laying eggs here.

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  12. Hi Betsy - I thought I'd enjoy looking them up - but no! Like our cuckoo ... brood parasitic birds ... but the choices - a 'screaming cowbird' ... that's what ghoulish stories are made of!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. I didn't know cuckoos did that, too! You're right...they would be perfect for a scary story!

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  13. Oh my goodness..those are lazy birds!! But I love that blue color.

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    1. It's a little crazy to me! If they like insects, you'd think they'd just hang around a farm.

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  14. Gorgeous blue even if they are interlopers. I don't think I've ever seen one before.

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    1. Maybe they aren't up north. I'll have to look!

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  15. Golly, I am glad they are just passing through. They could really mess with all the other birds. Your pictures make them look good. Never seen those in SO Cal either. We did have a falcon at our bird bath the other day. Needless to say the other birds were pretty scarce!

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    1. That must have been amazing to see the falcon! I get all excited when the big birds make an appearance! So fun! But I do tell the little birds to hide! haha.

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  16. haha that must be where some people get it from
    Lazy arse birds as they crap eggs out their bum

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    Replies
    1. Yep, some people are the same....
      want to be lazy and still gain.

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