Glad you sent your message. Let me start by saying that I totally
understand what you're feeling. And it must have been a poignant
realization to see firsthand just how precarious it is for nesting birds.
It saddens me that you saw so many in distress. However, I must point out
that your anger towards the cowbird seems a little misplaced. Their actions
are just as much "nature's way" as the crows and jays you mentioned. If
anything, the only reason why there are less nesting warblers and MORE
cowbirds than perhaps is "natural" is because humans are clearing land
everywhere. Cowbirds thrive on these forest edges and fields made plenty by
us. Therefore, if you're wanting to express some sort of moral outrage
against "bums" looking to "dump" things--look towards your fellow citizens
and their participation in destructive, capitalist practices. And then,
perhaps use that anger and energy in positive ways that work to counteract
these HUMAN bums. We are much more involved in the direct extinction of
those magnificent songbirds than the misunderstood cowbird. It is us who
have laid the foundation and opportunity for cowbirds to do their "natural"
thing. Sometimes I try to see the good in it--at least there is some life
that thrives and carries on in the ruins we've left.
Be well and fight the good fight,
On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 1:02 PM, Chad Smith <kingbird09@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
This is an odd post, but here goes anyway.
It's been a different kind of spring. Normally, I'm out looking for
birds, photographing them, etc. This year has been the year of nests. I
didn't go looking for them, just happened upon them. Of the four different
species I've observed, I was able to get very detailed info on three.
Here's briefly what I observed:
1) Kentucky Warbler - nest about 1 foot off the ground in the fork of a
woody plant. When found, female on nest. Later observed three eggs (1
crushed Kentucky Warbler egg, 2 cowbird eggs). Next visit, nest empty,
apparently raided by snake or some other predator.
2) Wood Thrush - 4 feet above ground in the fork of leaning young tree.
When found, bird on nest. Later observed 4 four blue eggs. Next visit, 1
big cowbird chick, 1 blue egg remaining. While there, I saw a Blue Jay
come along, snatch the cowbird chick, and fly away.
3) Great Crested Flycatcher - only observed this nest hole once, 20 feet
up on the side of a tree. Don't know what was in there. Hopefully, it'll
be more successful than the others.
4) Ovenbird - only observed this nest once. Five chicks (3 Ovenbirds, 2
cowbirds, one of which was front and center to hog all the food brought
The things I've seen this spring made me realize how tough it is for
nesting birds. To think these little warblers go to all the trouble of
migrating here, building a nest, sitting on eggs, bringing food, etc. all
to raise another parasite that will mooch off future generations (I swear
this is not ripped off from a Trump speech), it makes me feel sorry for the
birds being used while their own kind is slowly snuffed out. Every nest
I've seen up close this year has been parasitized or raided. The success
rate for raising chicks to adults must be low for many species of birds.
The woods are thick with cowbirds. I hear them all the time, and it's
become an irritating mental image of bums looking to dump eggs in another
bird's nest. Regarding jays, crows, or any other birds that eat young from
another bird's nest, it doesn't bother me so much because it's nature's
way. Even snakes have to do what they are programmed to do. I guess my
hatred of the cowbird is purely subjective. I can't stand to see that this
problem is so rampant now. It's a wonder there's anything left besides
cowbirds! Ironically, if everything else is wiped out, so goes the
Before I get reprimanded for anything I said, just know that I'm already
aware. Nesting birds should be left alone. It's possible that by looking
at these nests, I may have led other things to discovering them (impossible
on the Ovenbird nest). Again, I didn't go looking for any of these, just
happened to find them by chance. I wanted to observe a little because I'd
never done that before. Everything pointed toward this being meant to
happen this year. I learned a lesson in how hard it is for these birds to
be successful in nesting. In the future, I will avoid nests
completely, even after I've walked right into one.