Daily Archives: April 3, 2015

Cowbird returns

Brown-headed Cowbird

How now, Brown-headed Cowbird? Haven’t seen you in months.

This one is a male. Females look very different I learned last July: Mystery bird is a ‘songbird chicken.’


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 host’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.

Native birds, but a bit of a problem since their habitat has expanded.