Cow bird

plantmaven(8b/9a TX)August 10, 2013

Cow bird baby begging papa cardinal for food.
The Brown-headed Cowbird is a stocky blackbird with a fascinating approach to raising its young. Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the host�s own chicks

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thinman(Z5 MI)

Surrogate parenting in the bird world!

Part of me admires the cowbird for its clever tactic, and the other part thinks it's reprehensible for shirking its parental duty.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:13PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I think they are diabolical. The cowbird chicks are bigger and stronger than other chicks and will almost always out compete their "siblings" for food to the point they starve them. The poor adoptive parents end up caring exclusively for the cowbirds. On the other hand, how amazing that the instincts of the cowbird are so different from all other birds (that I know of) and they have no nesting behavior at all.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:07PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

The cowbird is now larger than the cardinals and very demanding. I feel so sorry for them.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:42PM
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