Another Baby Cowbird

This newly-fledged Cowbird wants to be fed.

The big baby is being parented by a tiny Song Sparrow.

Off to find more food for this youngster with an insatiable appetite!

Addendum – from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds website
“The Brown-headed Cowbird is a stocky blackbird with a fascinating approach to raising its young. Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the hostโ€™s own chicks. Once confined to the open grasslands of middle North America, cowbirds have surged in numbers and range as humans built towns and cleared woods.”

Linking to World Bird Wednesday
and Rural Thursday


41 Comments on “Another Baby Cowbird”

  1. nonoymanga says:

    Interesting wild life photography!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

  2. Mick says:

    Great photos. A juvenile of that size would have an appetite to match I would think. Poor parents!!

  3. Hanne Bente says:

    Beautiful / cute pictures you show. Wishing you a good day ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Eileen says:

    I have to feel sorry for the sparrow. But your photos are wonderful.

  5. Beautiful shots. They certainly spark my curiousity!

  6. Jim says:

    I thought that was a sparrow! And that baby was big! Does this happen often in the bird world?

  7. Boom & Gary says:

    So funny to see the baby parented by a tiny song sparrow. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  8. geanina says:

    Beautiful shots!! Greetings…

  9. worldbirdwednesday says:

    Amazing that the fledglings often seem plumper and larger than their haggard parents!

  10. TexWisGirl says:

    don’t you know that each parent in this ‘surprise’ situation names that one odd fledgling ‘bubba’. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Misty Dawn says:

    What beautiful photos. I love the one where the sparrow is feeding it!

  12. I can’t remember if the adult cowbird destroys the sparrow’s other eggs or not??? What a set-up!

  13. Fergiemoto says:

    Wow, cool photos, especially the one where the fledgling is being fed. Do you know if the adopting parents of cowbirds know that the kid did is not one of their own?

  14. ZielonaMila says:

    Beautiful shots!! I am greeting

  15. Nancy says:

    The original foster parent — funny how the baby is bigger than the daddy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Robyn says:

    A cowbird, that is a new one for me. Thanks for sharing Pat!

  17. elliefar says:

    My goodness these are some wonderful pictures to captured. You must have been very quiet!!!


  18. Adam Jones says:

    Nature is so interesting. Very similar situation to our Cuckoo that will be looked after a bird more than half it’s size.

  19. arvind says:

    Beautiful movement in the first photo!

  20. Can’t say I love these birds — I feel sorry for the baby sparrows this big baby probably displaced. But your photos are lovely.

  21. Gail says:

    Those cowbirds are something else, aren’t they! What a cool shot you got of the sparrow doing the feeding. It’s like some sort of bird welfare system they’ve got going on. Fascinating!!

  22. Karen says:

    Great shots. Is that usual for another bird to feed cowbirds?

  23. HansHB says:

    A great post. Cute bird feeding the “child”.

  24. Great pictures – brood parasites like this always seem to target small birds.
    The cowbird seems to have very large feet! SM

  25. Proof that being a stepmother is not always easy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Hanne Bente says:

    Cute “little chick”. Wishing you a good day ๐Ÿ™‚ Hanne Bente

  27. OMGoodness I hadn’t realized cowbirds did this. How interesting.

  28. I’ve always wondered, why doesn’t a Cowbird like this think they are a Song Sparrow? They must have strong instincts ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. onejackdaw says:

    He’s so cute. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Brown-headed Cowbirds are generally despised in the birding world. They generally prefer open areas and have greatly increased in numbers due to the division of large forest tracts for development and housing. They are a threat to many of our songbirds which have not yet come up with a defense against this intruder. Unlike house sparrows they are however protected under the migratory bird treaty act. Sorry, Pat, if I sound so preachy. Your pictures are wonderful – hard to resist!

  30. kateri says:

    I haven’t seen cowbirds where I live, but we had them where I grew up. We would take the cow bird eggs from the nests when we found them. One of those hard things–the cowbirds are just doing what they have evolved to do, but it is at the expense of the hatchlings of the foster parents. In any case, your photos are great. It is pretty amazing to see the tiny sparrow feeding the great big baby. .

  31. Buttons says:

    Oh these are fantastic shots. B

  32. 4joy says:

    Isn’t nature amazing!? I love your photo…

  33. I had the exact same thing happen last summer … the cowbird was almost twice the size of the sparrow! And demanding demanding food! Great captures here.

  34. Like it or not, this strategy has worked very well for the cowbirds over the eons. Too bad we are assisting them by clearing so much forest.

  35. Carletta says:

    Lazy cowbird parents! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love the shots Pat – especially the first one!

  36. Leovi says:

    Beautiful photos, good catch with open wings in the act of courtship, a nice green background of nature. Idyllic.

  37. ladyfi says:

    What delightful pictures!

  38. unikorna says:

    I share your enthusiasm when it comes to birds. There is a pair of beautiful swallows that have built 4 cribs in my basement and they spend 5 months there every year. Lovely photos ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Nancy says:

    Thank you for sharing at Rural Thursdays this week, Pat. xoxo

  40. You are so good at telling the story of these birds. It seems there are always some who take advantage of the generosity of others. (I guess that’s the way God made them). Poor sparrow is being worked so hard. I’m sure it will be very happy when the cowbird leaves the nest. ๐Ÿ™‚

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