Friday, May 21, 2010

How to Fool a Cowbird....

...by accident.On the day I thought my bluebirds fledged the box, I checked in to make sure they had actually left.
There were two Bluebird eggs still in there.
I left them in there for a couple days just to make sure they weren't new. I know bluebirds will have more than one brood, but since this was my first successful pair I didn't have too much knowledge on the subject. After a couple days I realized these eggs were not viable, and from the first brood.
I carefully removed the nest and set in in the woods not far from the nest box. I left the eggs in the nest....I have no idea why I did it that way...I just did.
Yesterday I, for some reason went to look at the nest...and I found this Brown-headed Cowbird egg in it. One of the "dead" Bluebird eggs was poked and pushed out of the nest!
Now I feel pretty good about this as last year I saw a Summer Tanager feeding a baby Cowbird and I know I may have just saved a Warbler, Tanager, Cuckoo, or other bird from this parasitic nest robber.

14 comments:

Steve Borichevsky said...

I think that you are on to something here!

farmlady said...

Just like the human world there's good and bad... but with animals and birds the intent is more instinctive that premeditated.
Still..., it's hard to watch.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Sheer genius, Eve! I've seen cardinals and wrens feeding baby cowbirds, too. This is a great idea...by accident! XO! me!

Salix said...

Hi Eve
We did something like that two years ago. A tiny (sorry, I don't know my birds like you do) bird had made nest in one of my pottet willow trees. One day there was an egg from one of the many cowbirds that we have here next to the smaller eggs and we just removed it.
Lene

Kerry Hawkins said...

That is really cool. I am glad you did this. Cowbirds, shish

Roy said...

Well done Evie.

Rural Rambler said...

Good for you Eve! I am not loving cowbirds much at all.

bluekat said...

Very cool. Like someone else mentioned, I don't know too many birds, but I've heard that some birds will do this. Guess you and the bluebirds got the best of that cowbird! :)

Bird Girl said...

Well, didn't that work out perfectly! Those cowbirds don't care where they drop an egg, do they? I sure wish you could've gotten a picture of that tanager feeding a baby cowbird. I saw one on the internet of a gnatcatcher feeding one - OH MY - it was like a little baby MONSTER bird compared to the tiny gnatcatcher. Funny how they know which birds will actually feed them! That was a very interesting thing to happen, Evie! Thanks for sharing :-)

Jenny said...

I'm glad the Bluebirds that did hatch managed to flit off Evie. Nice to see how the nest was made. I like the mossy decor! (-:

Shelley said...

Aha - the cowbirds were foiled! Yea! They are one of the reasons the Kirtland Warbler in Michigan is on the decline.

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Very cool. I am surprised that the Cowbird layed their egg in a nest on the ground, though. I had thought that perhaps they were a little more discerning. I guess not! :) Cool blog post!

Mary said...

Interesting way to trick the Cowbirds:-) I wonder why they ever developed that way of laying their eggs in the first place? I've seen a pair of cowbirds here and wondered who would end up with the eggs. I haven't seen any bird feeding any yet.

HANNIBAL said...

I love this story! Well done! Great deed!