Cardinals and cowbirds

For those of you who did not know this, brown-headed cowbirds do not raise their own young. They leave their eggs in the nests of other birds. Some say this evolved from when they were following herds of bison. I have seen young cowbirds this summer with groups of house sparrows and grackles. I have always suspected that some of the cardinals that nest in our yard were also raising cowbirds. Some folks get pretty hostile about this and really dislike cowbirds, which is really just speciesist. They are just doing what they do. I could go on about the irony of humans getting angry about this, but I think that is pretty clear. This morning, I witnessed a female cardinal feeding a young cowbird. There was an adult male cowbird nearby just taking it all in. I remember reading a while back that flocks of cowbirds will come and “collect” the young that are being raised by other species of birds. They have a special song they sing that calls them. Fascinating! I assume the young one I saw this morning is too young to go with the group, but how interesting that the adult cowbird was nearby watching the cardinal mom feeding the baby. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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