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Old Thursday 29th July 2004, 03:58   #1
shelley810
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Brown Headed Cowbird....Oriole??!!

Chatting with a fellow birder (her place is a farm just north of me...where my most colorful spring birds go to visit after they pair up!!), and she was astounded to see a male Northern Oriole feeding a Brown-Headed Cowbird chick!
What a feat that had to have been for the female to have layed an egg in that kind of nest to begin with.... and stranger yet, my friend says, when Daddy Oriole trys to teach baby BhC to eat from the grape jelly feeder! Actually these parasitic birds must have had a population explosion this year! No successful chipping sparrows for me in my yard this year and I even saw the female BhC try to get into a bluebird box where a pair of House Wrens have set up housekeeping!
Anyone else experience strange Cowbird "nestings" this year?
Shelley
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Old Thursday 29th July 2004, 04:03   #2
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Cowbirds are brood parasites, they lay their eggs in other birds' nests, sometimes kicking the hosts' eggs out. When the young cowbird hatches, if there are still some host eggs in the nest, the baby cowbird will kick the rest of the host's eggs out. The host parents don't seem to be bothered by the apparent kick-out of their own babies...

To summarize: I wouldn't worry about it... unless you know of birds in your area that are considered endangered, in which case, you "might" be able to shoot the cowbirds dead (not sure if it's legal, even if the chances of the cowbird laying its eggs in an endangered hosts' nest are great...)
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Old Thursday 29th July 2004, 04:05   #3
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Also, haven't seen a strange cowbird nesting experience, but I wouldn't be surprised if I saw a great blue heron feeding it's brown-headed chick...
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Old Thursday 29th July 2004, 04:33   #4
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G-Thang - Cowbird chicks don't eject young or eggs (although the adult female may remove one to replace the one she inserts into the nest) the young Cowbirds simply hatch faster and outgrow the other (usually smaller species) young birds in the nest so that the host birds real young don't usually survive.

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Old Thursday 29th July 2004, 04:42   #5
shelley810
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Wasn't worried about anything, well aware of what kind of goofballs these birds are, but I gotta say, I haven't ever heard of the Oriole being host to one before! Just curious if anyone else had strange [In Quotes] "....parasitic...cowbird....nestings this year" !! *And yep, The blue heron being host.....that would take the cake!
:) Shelley
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