Thursday, 5 June 2014

Brown-headed Cowbird being fed by Chipping Sparrow

Brown-headed Cowbird being fed by Chipping Sparrow
Waterloo, ON
4 June 2014

    Remarkably, for the fourth year in a row, we have a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater being fed by a Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina in our yard. Chipping Sparrows are subject to extensive brood parasitism by cowbirds, but for us to witness this phenomenon four years in a row without even leaving home seems unusual.  


  1. Beautiful pictures of this little fledgling.
    Greetings Irma

  2. Interesting and nicely documented. Of course you will know that many of our Cuckoos specialise in brood paratism of a particular species, their own offspring thought to continue the theme.

    Good news (for now) on the Buzzards. Thank you for your support.

  3. Well done! Wish you a nice week-end.
    Erika from Italy.

  4. Hahaha!!
    Nature is quite incredible!
    I still the cuckoos here singing their heads off and doing the same thing: parasiting smaller birds, and chicks are fed as their own!
    Fantastic to have this in your yard and 4 years in row!!
    Well done, I love those pics!
    Cheers David!

  5. That does seem unusual about the 4 years in a row, so an interesting observation.

  6. How amazing to see this all happening in your yard! As Phil says, our Cuckoos do the same here in UK. When I was in Scotland I was watching Cuckoos being fed by Meadow Pipits. Strangely the Mipits seem to stay in attendance to the Cuckoos after they are fully grown, and the size difference is truly remarkable. Sadly, Cuckoos are not too common in UK, more often heard than seen, and having one in one's yard would be the sighting of a lifetime!

    A great post, David. Thank you.

  7. Fabulous scenes, the Cowbirds being fed by a Sparrow, just like our Cuckoos.

  8. Very interesting observation and great pictures! A Chipping Sparrow is like our cuckoo :-).

  9. Ohhhh .... what a great beautiful pictures of these headed cowbird.
    Beautiful photographed. A big compliment!