Cowbirds are brood parasites. They deposit their eggs in nests belonging to birds of other species. Some of the birds they parasitize remove the eggs from their nests or cover them with new nesting material so they are not incubated.
They do like to be around large animals such as cows so they can eat bugs caused by the herd disturbing the ground.
Such a common bird, I can’t get over how the light reflects such beautiful colours. These early birds were digging through the leaves looking for bugs or worms, they seemed to have some success even though the ground is fairly frozen still.
These birds have declined 85%-98% in the past 40 years and are listed as a “species of concern” or “vulnerable”. Their song has been compared to the grating of a rusty hinge. They have been documented feeding on sparrows, robins, and Snipe … interesting since I found this one watching a flock of Sparrows and Juncos in a hedge row.
Starlings are loud, and the “me first” cries are very competitive, parent birds work fast to bring back meals and the chicks are eager to see them return. These are in our barn wall, I see them every day and finally took a photo. Our farm is home to so many different birds it is incredible.
These are generally quick to fly, even tho we see many, it can be hard to get a clean shot of one. This female was distracted gather nesting material and I was able to sneak in a few shots.
This fellow was determined to have his photo taken, bird #151 perched right in front of the camera, the zoomed out photo shows how adamant he was! Like a Grackle we see at home, however this fellow was in Florida and is a super sized huge Grackle.
These Grackles arrived from the south to the ice storm and starving hungry. I bought a bag of corn for them, they ate and ate. Here you can see the beautiful breeding plumage of the Grackles.
And he wasn’t even angry with me… showing off to the girls!
I pass by this cow each day on my way to work, on most days these birds are keeping an eye on the flies that swam the cows faces. Hard working birds 🙂