[Tweeters] Educating birds--how to tell if your baby might be a Cowbird...

Leah Wegener dlwegener at msn.com
Wed Jul 16 15:13:06 PDT 2014

Hi, Tweets,

Attention Birds: Beware of Brown-headed Cowbirds using YOU to raise their young! These "brood parasites" will sneak one of their eggs into your nest while you are gone and leave the work of incubating and feeding to you. Sometimes they will even toss one of your eggs out to make room for their own!

Description of Cowbird eggs: white to grayish white with brown or gray spots

What to do if you spot a Cowbird egg in your nest:
If you are strong enough, push the egg out. You can also try pecking it open.
If you are small, try a tip from the Yellow Warbler--"We can't push the eggs out, but we build a second nest right over the top of the egg and hope the Cowbird does not come back."

Signs that one of the chicks in your nest might be a baby Cowbird:
If it was a few days premature.
If the baby is larger than all of the other chicks.
If the baby is larger than you!
If the baby has been tossing the other chicks out of the nest, squashing them to death, or eating ALL the food you bring.

You are not alone! Cowbirds have been found to use over 140 species of birds JUST LIKE YOU as "hosts" for their offspring.

Help spread the word to other birds in your habitat. You are a bird. You have value. Go to the edge of your nest right now, and tweet, "I'm as mad as @#$! and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

from Leah Wegener
dlwegener at msn.com
Centralia, WA

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