About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Baby Cowbird vs. Cardinal

Baby cowbird with momma cardinal
The baby cowbird is all gray with speckled feathers
Brown-headed cowbirds are a brood parasite. They do not raise their own young, instead laying their eggs in the nests of other bird species. The young cowbird is fed by the host parents. If the foster family is successful in raising the cowbird, the baby will start out with the basic baby call of “feed me, feed me” call, but later develop their innate unstructured song.

Several published studies on the subject have found that adult cowbirds check in with young cowbirds while the youngsters are still living with other species. The adult cowbirds help teach fledglings cowbird-specific behaviors before they leave their foster homes.
Juvenile cardinal: gray feathers tinged with red and a dark bill
This baby cardinal is coming out of the awkward baby stage, into beauty!
Juvenile cowbirds, which fledge during the summer months, leave their foster parents about two weeks after hatching to flock together with other cowbirds. Chatter calls, as well as other visual cues help with recognition of their own species. The theory is that cowbirds and other parasitic birds possess a simple behavioral trait or cue that is species specific and helps them recognize themselves as cowbirds.
  
Photos Shared by Holly. Thank you Holly for sharing snapshots of what's going on outside your window! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts.  
 
Related Articles:
- How Do Cowbirds Learn to Sing? http://goo.gl/n6kYS 

- Brown-headed Cowbirds http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2009/05/cowbirds.html 
- How young cowbirds know they're cowbirds http://goo.gl/hYSyUV 
- Basic Instinct: Cardinal Feeds Goldfish http://bit.ly/Kgv2Mi
- Starling and sparrow nesting together http://goo.gl/5aQftb

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