Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 06/14/2017


Photo taken on June 12, 2017


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12 June 2017


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Brown-headed Cowbird male

Brown-headed Cowbird male
I happened to notice this Brown-headed Cowbird male and three or four others, perched in a row. I'm not sure if tilting their head upwards is part of their mating behaviour, but it is typical of this species.

"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." From AllAboutBIrds.

"They get their name from their close association with grazing livestock (and formerly bison), which flush up insects for the birds to eat." From AllAboutBirds.

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown-headed_Cowbird/id

In the afternoon of 12 June 2017, on the spur of the moment, I went for a short drive SW of the city. The sun was shining, but unfortunately it was windy most of the time. My main purpose was to check on a few of the Mountain Bluebirds, who are now busy as can be, collecting insects to feed to their hungry babies. I know this will soon be over and the young ones will have fledged, so I really must make myself visit them again, or it will be too late.

I had also hoped that maybe one of the Great Gray Owls in the area might just be out hunting. No luck this time. Makes me even more grateful to have seen one during our May Species Count on 28 May 2017.

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