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Old 06-12-2020, 03:49 PM
 
9,682 posts, read 3,643,358 times
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I saw a male cardinal feed a bird that didn't look anything like a juvenile cardinal. I even looked up juvenile cardinals to be sure.


Turns out, the cardinal was feeding a young cowbird, and it's a "thing".


I was familiar with the fact that cowbirds will lay eggs in other birds nests, but I'd never seen a cowbird before, so I was kind of fascinated with the behavior. Ha! How about that.
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Old 06-12-2020, 03:58 PM
 
Location: In a chartreuse microbus
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Cowbirds are lazy parents who pawn their young off on other birds to raise.
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Old 06-12-2020, 04:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirron View Post
Cowbirds are lazy parents who pawn their young off on other birds to raise.


Yes. They're brood parasites.


I had just never seen the behavior before.
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Old 06-12-2020, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Male cardinals also feed seeds to female cardinals as part of the courting process. It's very cute!
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Old 06-12-2020, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Worcester MA
2,464 posts, read 615,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassybluesy View Post
I saw a male cardinal feed a bird that didn't look anything like a juvenile cardinal. I even looked up juvenile cardinals to be sure.


Turns out, the cardinal was feeding a young cowbird, and it's a "thing".


I was familiar with the fact that cowbirds will lay eggs in other birds nests, but I'd never seen a cowbird before, so I was kind of fascinated with the behavior. Ha! How about that.
That's so interesting! I don't think I've ever seen a cowbird and have certainly never seen one being fed by a cardinal.
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Old 06-12-2020, 10:22 PM
 
7,274 posts, read 8,962,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassybluesy View Post
Turns out, the cardinal was feeding a young cowbird, and it's a "thing".
I once saw a Goldfinch feeding an adult-sized baby Cowbird. It was quite the sight. I can't imagine how tired out that Goldfinch must have gotten trying to keep that Cowbird fed!
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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My male cardinals only want to knock their little brains out attacking my windows. Maybe some do manage to knock their brains out and that is why they are feeding cowbirds!
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevadas (California)
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Very interesting.
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Old 06-13-2020, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Central IL
16,897 posts, read 10,093,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungalove View Post
Male cardinals also feed seeds to female cardinals as part of the courting process. It's very cute!
Yes it is! Here's a little video:

https://imgur.com/a/AYM0gAL
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:23 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Supposedly if birds try to eject cowbird eggs from the nest the adults will then destroy the host parents' nests. Cowbirds are awful parasites and in some areas game wardens kill them to protect more vulnerable song birds.
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