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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 22:14   #1
IL Birddude
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Question There's a brown bird at my feeder everyday and a

male cardinal keeps feeding it. It's not a female cardinal.It acts like a fledging, but it's as big as the cardinal.To me it looks like a female Grossbeak, but it's stripes are dull in color.Also,it appears it won't feed itself even though it's in the feeder.I'm from central Illinois.I have looked in my bird book and can't find it.
Got any ideas what it is ?
Thanks


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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 23:01   #2
Jacamar
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If it's not a juvenile cardinal (generally the same shape as adult including crest), then it may be a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird.

Check out this picture:
http://thebirdguide.com/digiscoping/...ed_cowbird.jpg
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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 23:31   #3
IL Birddude
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It's not a juvenile cardinal(no crest)

It kind of looks like the cowbird.
Why would the cardinal be feeding it?
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2006, 00:07   #4
TupeloN8
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Cowbirds are nest parasites, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, in your case the cardinal, for them to raise. The cowbird fledgling will hatch earlier than the host's eggs and proceed to kick them out of the nest so that the host bird will feed and care for the cowbird fledgling alone.
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2006, 00:30   #5
IL Birddude
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That makes sense. Thank You
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2006, 01:23   #6
streatham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TupeloN8
The cowbird fledgling will hatch earlier than the host's eggs and proceed to kick them out of the nest so that the host bird will feed and care for the cowbird fledgling alone.
Hi Tupelo,

Sorry to be pedantic but that isn't quite correct, Cowbird chicks don't kick out other chicks what they tend to do is out compete the hosts fledgelings. As you said the cowbird's egg usually hatch a day or two before the host's eggs. Rapid growth allows the cowbird chick to out compete the host's chicks for food and space in the nest - which generally (put not always) leads the hosts chicks to perish.

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Old Wednesday 21st June 2006, 01:43   #7
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Male cardinals have such a parenting instinct that it's not uncommon for them to feed any fledglings around. I watched a cardinal in our backyard feed a finch for hours.

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Old Wednesday 21st June 2006, 02:41   #8
IL Birddude
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Thanks Tim.
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