Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Wendy Burt: Odd egg is likely that of brown-headed cowbird

She would remove the egg, she says, if it were on her property. Cowbirds are significant threat to other more desirable birds
About: The Whitehurst Diaries: A bit of a bird mystery and a Cat Watch

By Wendy Butler Burt

This "odd" egg most likely is that of the brown-headed cowbird.

The cowbird, known as a parasitic nester, never raises its own young but lays its eggs in the nests of other birds.

Cowbird nestlings often are larger and hungrier than the "real" nestlings so they outcompete their nest mates and have been known to eject other nestlings from the nest.

It is believed that the parasitic habit evolved when cowbirds followed herds of bison. Since bison always were on the move, the birds did not have time to raise their young to maturity and, so, left their eggs for other birds to raise.

Cowbird nestlings have become a significant threat to some bird species, especially many warblers whose numbers already have been greatly reduced due to habitat loss and other factors.

If this nest were on my property, I would remove the cowbird egg. --Wendy Butler Burt

This story was posted on 2013-05-31 07:29:51
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.


Quick Links to Popular Features content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Use the following link:

Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270-250-2730 Fax: 270-751-0401

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.