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Submitted By

Rebecca Rowley

Houghton, NY, United States

Description

We’ve been watching the evolution of a Dark-Eyed Junco nest as its been parasitized by a Cowbird. We believe that two of the Junco eggs have been eaten and replaced by two Cowbird eggs at different times. One of the Cowbird eggs has hatched.

Category

Unusual nests

Cowbird Young In Junco Nest

May 23, 2017

16 responses to “Cowbird young in Junco Nest”

  1. Dennis Porebski says:

    I highly dislike brown-headed cowbirds. What lazy (but opportunistic) parasites! >:( It’s also a shame that the other bird species suffer as a consequence.

    • Texas Bird Family says:

      As a native species, the Brown-headed Cowbird is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and taking eggs is illegal. So any person who violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by murdering baby cowbirds is subject to a criminal penalty of up to $5,000 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; and. license suspension or revocation

  2. Tim says:

    I found a cowbird egg in a Chipping Sparrows nest with three eggs. The tiny nest had littlw room for the sparrows if they were to hatch and I new they would be ejected or starve. I removed the cowbird egg?

    • Hi Tim,

      Brown-headed Cowbirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is illegal to remove their eggs or young from bird nests. Please leave the egg in place. You can read more about cowbirds and their breeding strategy here: http://nestwatch.org/learn/general-bird-nest-info/brown-headed-cowbirds/.

      Best,
      Chelsea, NestWatch project assistant.

    • Texas Bird Family says:

      As a native species, the Brown-headed Cowbird is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and taking eggs is illegal. So any person who violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by murdering baby cowbirds is subject to a criminal penalty of up to $5,000 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; and. license suspension or revocation

  3. D Kop says:

    That is the most ridiculous statement I have heard! Really who knew it was a crime to remove a parasite bird’s egg?

    • Ava Johnson says:

      It’s great that you care about the other birds that nest in your bird houses, but think about it this way; If everyone removed every Cowbird egg they found, then the Cowbird population would drop dramatically. Also, like Holly Grant later said, Cowbirds have not caused any major population decline for other species.

    • Texas Bird Family says:

      As a native species, the Brown-headed Cowbird is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and taking eggs is illegal. So any person who violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by murdering baby cowbirds is subject to a criminal penalty of up to $5,000 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; and. license suspension or revocation

  4. Catherine says:

    Cowbirds are horrible parasites, and they are starting to overcrowd some places. It is truly heartbreaking to see a Dark-eyed junco, Common Yellowthroat, or other small bird trying to feed a restless, giant cowbird chick that practically dwarfs their ‘parent’.

    • Texas Bird Family says:

      As a native species, the Brown-headed Cowbird is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and taking eggs is illegal. So any person who violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by murdering baby cowbirds is subject to a criminal penalty of up to $5,000 for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; civil restitution fee for each bird unlawfully taken or possessed; and. license suspension or revocation

  5. D Kop says:

    My earlier response was not posted (what happened to free speech)?
    How could it be deemed a crime to remove a parasitic bird egg from my property and from the bird house I both made and purchased?

    • Holly Grant, Project Assistant says:

      Hi, I’m not sure what happened to your other comment, but Brown-headed Cowbirds are native species to North America, and therefore protected by federal laws. Tampering with their eggs is legal only if you have the proper permits. You can learn more about cowbirds and how some species have developed their own defense adaptations on our website here. It may also help to know that while they seem pervasive, they have not ben implicated in any major declines for other species. By far and large the biggest driver of bird declines is habitat loss and degradation.

  6. Texas Bird Family says:

    Removing Cowbird eggs is llegal.

  7. Texas Bird Family says:

    It’s also cruel. People shouldn’t destroy innocent baby birds for the sake of it.

  8. Texas Bird Family says:

    I like all birds. Vultures, Muscovy ducks, House Sparrows, European Starlings, Cowbirds, Eurasian collared doves. All birds.

  9. Ava Johnson says:

    While Brown-Headed Cowbirds may sometimes seem cruel and mean, we have to remember they have been doing this for many years and it’s their natural way of laying eggs.
    Also, some birds aren’t as affected by them as others. For example, earlier this year we had a Summer Tanager nest and a Cowbird laid an egg in it. The Cowbird was about the same size as the Tanagers so it didn’t get more food. In fact, it was the last one to fledge.

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