Return to the Wildlife Garden Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

Posted by laurabs 7b (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 14, 07 at 19:00

At my feeder today I noticed one of my tinniest of birds, possibly a male ruby-crowned kinglet, because he has a little reddish hat on, and this much larger, clumsy, vaguely sparrow-marked bird was coming after him on the triple-tube bird feeder. I thought he was trying to scare the little bird away, but no, he opened his mouth and the tiny bird proceeded to stuff bird seed in, as if he was the parent bird.

Is this a case where some bird has come along and pushed eggs out of a nest and put her own eggs in their place, so that this tiny bird has had to raise this monstrosity?

And what kind of birds do this? I can't remember.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

Cowbirds do this.....


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

It did look like a cowbird if their babies have a light, stripy look!


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

I googled it and there are reports of ruby and golden crowned kinglets seen feeding baby cowbirds at feeders. I'll have to monitor the nests next year. Some are low enough to peak in. I can't believe I might have a golden or ruby crowned kinglet nesting in my yard. Doesn't seem too common, but I would never have checked what he was if I hadn't seen him feeding that big, clumsy cowbird.


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

Sad to say that the Kinglet babies most likley did not survive, although there is hope that one or two did. Did you see any "regular" sized babies? I feel bad for both the "host " birds and the baby Cowbirds. So many of the host "parents " can't really get the baby cowbird enough food. The Babies of the host Mom are usually either pushed out as eggs or they starve as nestlings. Kinda makes you wonder why God made em, but I am sure they have a purpose.


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

I know, it's really sad. And in my search I saw that they have witnessed cowbirds policing nests to make sure their eggs aren't pushed out by the parent birds! If they are, the cow birds have been seen retaliating, poking holes in the native eggs. It's very bad behavior. But this baby cowbird was feeding himself at the feeder AND demanding more feeding from his adopted parent. I'd say he was big enough to feed himself if need be. I read it's not legal to remove cowbird eggs from a nest, but I'd be tempted to leave them where my rat snakes could find them without having to climb the trees.


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

I changed my feed this year and did not offer any mixed seed at all. The Cowbird population was WAY down. They still came, but did not stay. The down side to this is that the Indigos did not visit the feeder either. They nested here and there were quite a few this year, but they went to the neighbors for the mixed seed with Millet. :( (probably where the Cowbirds went too).


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

You get indigo buntings? How neat. We don't get those, so when we use up the mixed seed I won't let DH get it again. I told DH we shouldn't get it, I just didn't know why!


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

I almost posted an observation along these lines several weeks ago. In a one-week span I noticed three separate cowbird chicks all being attended to by blue-grey gnatcatchers. There was always a single cb chick to each set of birds, and never any sign of additional BGGC chicks vying for the food. In that same time span I also noticed a CBchick being fed by a pair of indigo buntings. It's not hard to find them as they are very raucous and conspicuous. I am curious how the numbers and densities of birds most typically affected by CB predations are doing here because we have hordes of cowbirds, yet I always hear/see vireos and thrushes and others that are prime targets for parasitism.
I check my nest boxes regularly and destroy any CB eggs
in the hopes that at least my small wooded acreage can better sustain songbirds in a time of decline, but we live in farmland with any remaining wooded areas being highly fragmented. Flocks of winter 'blackbirds' are usually groupings of redwings, starlings, grackles and cowbirds fattened up on a steady and readily available farmland diet. I only wonder what our songbird
demographics will do in the next few decades.


 o
RE: Tiny bird feeding great big bird at feeder

I made this pic few months ago - parent (chipping sparrow) and "baby" cowbird. We still have a lot of chipping sparrows, so this is not a problem around here.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Wildlife Garden Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here