Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Even birds do it ....

A few days ago, I was roused out of my computer stupor 
by a consistent chirping outside my office window.  
As I looked out, I discovered this fledgling making all the racket.

But it wasn't his constant chirping that gave me pause, but rather who was feeding him!

A Tree Sparrow!


The fledgling definitely was not a tree sparrow.
I may be new at bird watching, but this little one was definitely not a sparrow.


For one, his legs were dark, the male sparrow feeding him were skin toned.


And then there was his size.  TWICE as big as the sparrow.
And feather color ... I don't think it was happening either.

Something went awry in that nest!


The father sparrow was feeding him seed from the ground, 
which, in my opinion, the youngin' could have done that for himself!
Oy!  Kids!


When the father sparrow flew away, he would nap.  
I guess loud chirping and eating can be exhausting!


After a few minutes, I could tell when the father sparrow was close again.
His chirp engine started up.


Feed me,  feed me!


I just fed you!  You know, you can pick up the seed yourself.

But, oh, papa, that's so h.a.r.d.


At one point when the young one was alone, 
a young cardinal fledgling showed up and started checking him out.

The father sparrow quickly returned.


As well as the mother sparrow.
Rather protective pair.
Helicopter parenting, even in the aviary world.


I imagined this cardinal saying, 

There's something odd about those parents of yours.


But no matter.
A few days later, he was around again chirping away.  
He looked a bit older and stronger.


But still chirping chirping chirping.


And soon, what to my wondering eyes should appear?
  Daddy-o Sparrow!


I think he's beginning to wonder where Mrs. Sparrow spent that night 33 days ago.

Bird Wife ....  do you have something to tell me?

: : :


P.S.
Can my bird friends explain how and why these sparrows are caring for this little guy.  I'm thinking the little one is looking like a female finch. 

47 comments:

T. Becque said...

Great series! I think it's lovely he's taking care of the little guy!

Barbara said...

That was great! Wow, your yard is more interesting than any television show, that's for sure! How sweet that he's taking care of that big baby (reminds me of Baby Huey!)

Ali said...

well i am feeling flat and looking for inspiration and of course your posts are full of great things!!! the hummingbirds are awesome... and these little fellows are cute as can be!!!

Jill said...

This is so sweet and adorable! I'd also like to know why the sparrow is taking care of that little (?) one.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

All I can think of is that the sparrows claimed the nest and this egg was already in it? Looks like the fledgling could swallow that, um, swallow. :)

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Great series. The expression and your comment in the last photo is spot on. I had to laugh. Well done.

Anonymous said...

It's a female brown-headed cowbird. They're brood parasites (they lay their eggs in other species nests), and the host parents feed the cowbird chick (often at the expense of their own chicks).

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/brown-headed_cowbird/id

Beverly said...

Great post!! I loved your photos....really a great catch!!

TexWisGirl said...

yup. cowbird. they lay their eggs in other birds' nests and make other birds raise their young...

beth said...

wow....this was hysterical {especially your words and whose bed have you been sleeping in} and i think the cowbird story is correct...i've heard about it before, but have never seen it.....THANK YOU for sharing this with us !!!

lisa said...

These are wonderful photographs Reena.
Sometimes one bird will foster a baby, even if they are not both the same type of bird. Really kinda nice I think. :-)

olivia said...

aw, what a cute post! just love your little story to go with, such a way with words! love your post and love to visit you!

Jean said...

It is sad when a Cowbird boots out the native birds. Super informative post!!!

Kjell T. Evensen said...

What a beautiful series! In Norway we have a bird called a "Gjøk" (Cuculus canorus) that does the same thing. It lays its eggs in another bird's nest so the other bird will raise its young. What a surprise to the host parents! :)

Sylvia K said...

What wonderful captures, Reena! And how sweet is that!! Great to see in our world today!! Love your story! Enjoy your evening!

Sylvia

Florida Farm Girl said...

Reena, the little one is likely a brown headed cowbird. They are notorious for laying their eggs in nests of other birds and the other birds wind up hatching their young and caring for them.

I'm curious -- are you shooting through a window, or are you outside?

faye said...

Great post.!! Is that the same fledgling
that fell out of the nest earlier ??

Louise said...

That's the best example I've ever seen of a host bird feeding a cowbird baby. Loved your pictures, and the way you told the story.

Hartwood Roses said...

There were times when my girls were little when I dreamed of spending my life like a cowbird mama. Lay my eggs in someone elses's nest, and leave the spit and crying behind. (just kidding).

The Retired One said...

So so cute!!! Loved your blog too, just joined..thanks for coming to mine and becoming a Follower too!!

OceanoAzul.Sonhos said...

What a magnificent sequence of photos, very nice to be able to observe the behavior of these birds.

oa.s

Daryl said...

It looks as if Baby Huey was about to swallow Papa Sparrow's head ..

S. Etole said...

Now that is rather amazing!

Mama Zen said...

These shots are just spectacular. Wow!

rebecca said...

thank you for this endearing glimpse into the heart of nature.

Judy said...

I thought of cowbird too...wonderful series.

bon bon said...

how comical! if cardinals are capable of expressing an opinion, you captured it here!

Phil said...

A great series of pictures MM to show in such detail the relationship between the cowbird and the host sparrow.

ds said...

Amazing. Nature has so much to teach us (i'd been thinking blue jay; never heard of a cowbird). Thank you for stopping by my place and leaving a bit of yourself there. You just got a new follower, too!

Bluebird49 said...

Hilarious--but ugh! how I despise cowbirds! Nothing cute about them-maybe the baby ones...but after that--NO!

Anna said...

Great series of photos and as always, humorous text! I've seen this before but in a nest in a bush. The cowbird laid her egg in another bird families nest and then she went off to do whatever. The unsuspecting family got a huge, mutant cowbird that pushes their own babies out of the nest, after they all hatch. The birdie parents lose their own babies, while they struggle to feed this enormous baby. Nature can be harsh - It's very sad to see.

justine said...

wonderful set of shots

EG Wow said...

Mama sparrow must have sat on that egg, wherever it came from. Sure is odd...at least so it seems to me.

ladyfi said...

How touching to see such generosity! Lovely shots.

Mark said...

How do you get any work done with the show that goes on outside you office window? Very cool.

Jillsy Girl said...

Before I read the comments, I had hubby look at the post and he said the same thing...a cowbird or a cuckoo (he wasn't sure which without looking it up for photos, but the other commenters confirmed the cowbird).

superb shots!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Haha, what a funny story! The size of that fledgling compared to the daddy sparrow just makes you go "huh?" Cute. You have so much entertainment outside your window. My windows are boring. I hate mine. *pouts*

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

My guess was going to be a cow bird as well. I'll bet the parents were still so proud of their 'big boy!' :-)

Liz said...

Love your story with these shots, which are great by the way.

You captured this perfectly.

CherryPie said...

Lovely shots :-) I was thinking it was a cuckoo until I saw your other commenters.

Ann said...

What an amazing series of shots that is. I've never seen anything like that.
I see you got your answer about what kind of bird it is and why the sparrow is feeding it.

Catherine said...

These are amazing photos! Isn't nature wonderful. Fantastic!
xo Catherine

Katie said...

This is hilarious...and incredibly sweet that those birds are caring for an 'adopted' birdie! :)

spread your wings said...

this is great - a very interesting, and funny, look at the bird world.
thanks for your visit today at my blog. I look forward to looking around your blog.

Frank said...

I recently read about Cowbirds and brood parasites ... now I've seen the evidence.

Lovely sequence showing this interesting behaviour.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

My guess is a cowbird, and others have said so too. I've sure never seen pics like this- showing it all in such detail.

Hilary said...

I stareted to read through the comments before including my own and I see that Anon and TexWisGirl have the right answer. That is indeed the juvenile cowbird. Those crazy/lazy creatures lay their eggs in other species' nest.. and let them raise them. Bird life is fascination.. isn't it? Wonderful shots, Reena.