June 19 (2001): A
new, but not terribly welcome bird species showed up in my little yard: a
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater). It was a female bird and as such
poses a threat to other nesting birds in my area. She does so by depositing her
own eggs into other bird's nests. Once the eggs hatch they become foster chicks
that eat way more than their share of food brought to the nest by the host
birds. Only exceptionally can the host bird successfully rear one of its own
chicks. It seems amazing that the host birds fail to recognize the cow bird
chick as not one of their own, especially when the fast growing cowbird looks
so different and finally outsizes its adoptive parents! A Black-chinned
Hummingbird paid a visit today, the first time since last summer. Anna's
Hummingbirds are the most abundant kind in Southwest cities.
J. Plagens, page created 4 July 2001,
updated 2 June 2018.