Brown-headed Cowbirds… for shame!

Noticed this entourage early this morning out at the feeder.  Four brown-headed cowbirds (1 female & 3 males).  Seems they are staking claim since they were also here when we got home this evening.  I guess it is better than having 3 females & 1 male!  To understand why, you must understand the cowbird.

Brown-headed cowbirds are the worst parents of the bird species!  To my knowledge anyway.  You see when the female lays her eggs she finds another birds nest to lay them in!  Not only are they terrible parent but terrible home makers.  No nest building, no incubating their eggs, no feeding their young, no nothing.  That is right, the unsuspecting bird whose nest is chosen by the cowbird is left the task of raising alien babies.  I have read that the victim parents will accept the baby cowbird/egg for two reasons 1) they do not realize the egg is not theirs;  2) cowbirds will harass nests and kill/destroy eggs & young from the nest if their imposter eggs are harmed.  Either way it makes for a bad situation for most song birds.  Cowbirds are larger than song birds:  chickadees, sparrows, finches.  When the larger baby in the nest demands more food from the parents often times the parents legitimate offspring are left unfed and die.  The cowbird babies can easily crowd out the others.  Parents always feed the babies that are strongest and squawk the most first.  Last summer I noticed a house sparrow bringing a fledged brown-headed cowbird to the feeders and feeding it.  Of course I was not upset… after all it was a house sparrow.  But still.  Seeing them this year is not giving me warm fuzzies.  Hopefully they will choose the house sparrows nest again.  Is that too mean to say?

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