Feathered Friday – A visit from a Female Brown-headed Cowbird on August 11th, 2019

I’m back with another contribution to the Feathered Friday tag that @melinda010100 has kept flying on the Steem blockchain. I’d originally hoped to have this up for last Friday, since the visit from the Female Brown-headed Cowbird was on August 11th, but it took me much longer than expected to comb through the 150 shots (okay, so I got a little carried away…lol) to find ones good enough to share.

For those unfamiliar with this bird, here’s a brief description from allaboutbirds.org

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.

Look for Brown-headed Cowbirds in fields, meadows, and lawns. During winter and migration, search through mixed-species blackbird flocks and look for the glossy black plumage and subtle brown head in males and the short, stout bill and unmarked brown of females. Learn the male’s gurgling song and the female’s chatter call, and you’ll hear them often.

Yeah, the first time I read about Cowbirds (after spotting a male at my bird feeder), I have to admit I was not too impressed with their behavior. But then again. Mother Nature certainly has a wide variety of interesting animal behaviors that, when looked at from a human perspective, don’t seem to make sense. Then I looked up the spiritual significance of the cowbird in my go to book, Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, and got a new appreciation for them…


KEYNOTE: Parent and Child Relationships

The cowbird is one of the smallest of blackbirds, but it is not entirely black. It is black with a rich brown head. This combination of colors can serve as a reminder to keep ourselves grounded and take care of responsibilities.

The cowbird is often thought of as a cruel bird because it has a habit of depositing its eggs in the nests of another bird. Its favorite victims are warblers, sparrows, and robins. It then departs, leaving the egg to be hatched and reared by the real owner of the nest. The cowbird hatchling will usually be the biggest bird in the nest and soon overwhelm the others; therefore it is often reared at the cost of the whole brood.

This activity has great significance for those with this totem. It can reflect a time of resolving old childhood issues of abandonment. It can reflect a time of renewed opportunity for new parenthood. The appearance of the cowbird can also reflect that you may be doting on, or interfering too much in the lives of your children. They may also reflect that you are not paying enough attention – or enough of the proper attention. If cowbirds are making themselves known to you, examine the expression of balanced responsibility in parent and child relationships.

I have also encountered a number of adopted individuals who have had cowbirds show up as totems about the time they begin the search for their biological parents. Cowbirds can help in resolving many issues surrounding adoption.

One last thing before I get started with my shots – be sure to check out the post Melinda did this week called Garden Birds for Feathered Friday. She has some beautiful shots of a Goldfinch and Hummingbird hanging out in her garden!

Now, here are my Female Brown-headed Cowbird photos!

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
I was outside with Sandy around 6:30pm, taking him for a bit of a stroll around the yard, when I spotted this bird bouncing around on the ground.

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
Luckily, since I’d been having a mild tremor day, I’d brought along my Nikon & tripod, so I was able to capture this visit on film (so to speak…LOL).

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
After bebopping around for a few, this Female Brown-headed Cowbird (who I recognized from other visits), flew up to a nearby tree.

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
Looks like she wanted to pose pretty for the camera!

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
I moved closer to the tree and snapped some more pictures – it’s amazing how her color changed depending on the angle (also taking into consideration the end of day lighting)

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
I think she’s warning the other woodland creatures that the crazy bird lady is back with her camera!

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
I moved a bit closer to her, and while she didn’t seem to mind, she did get a bit fidgety…

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
…. oh, okay. I guess she just wants to put on a show for me and Sandy!

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
I wish I’d been able to get video of this, but I was so focused (pun intended) on getting some shots, I forgot all about it.

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
She’s so pretty!

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
Looks like she’s done now…

…and after making sure I’m still paying attention…

…she got herself ready and flew off the branch, right back down to where she’d been before on the ground.

Looks like she spotted a treat while she was perched in the tree!

Yep, she found some kind of nut or seed – yummy!

I was amazed by how unfazed she was that Sandy and I were near. This shot shows where she was in relationship to us.

Closer, if blurrier, shot to show where she was.

Female Brown-headed Cowbird
I finally remembered to grab a short bit of video (below) before bringing Sandy back in, and letting her get on with her forays in peace.

BONUS VIDEO – I took this short video to show exactly how much energy Miss Cowbird had, and why I ended up taking so many pictures. She was constantly on the move, so it made following her with the camera a bit of a challenge (to say the least!). Timeline wise, this was after she’d posed for me in the tree, and just before I took the picture of Sandy.


Female Brown-headed Cowbird


Happy Feathered Friday!

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