About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Common Hummingbird flowers

Just a few of the flowers that hummingbirds like are:
1.Bleeding heart, 2.Campanula, 3.Cardinal Flower, 4.Columbine, 5.Coral Bells, 6.Daylily, 7.Delphinium, 8.Foxglove, 9.Fuchsia, 10.Hollyhocks, 11.Hosta, 12.Honeysuckle, 13.Larkspur, 14. Lilac, 15. Lobelia, 16. Mint, 17.Milkweed, 18.Monarda, 19.Morning Glory, 20.Obedient plant, 21.Sage, 22.Salvia, 23.Silene, 24.Snapdragon, 25.Trumpet Vines

Hummingbirds forage for protein packed insects and quick energy from flower nectar. A hummingbird may visit 2,000 flowers in one day in search of nectar. They must eat several times their weight in nectar daily to stay alive.

To learn more fun facts about hummingbirds visit www.audubon.org/features/celebrate-hummingbirds
  • Fill your yard with native flowering plants, vines, shrubs, and trees. Check out the native plants database. Even one plant in a window box or hanging basket can help. 
  • Grow native plants which provide much more nectar than hybrids and exotics.
  • Plant native red or orange tubular flowers to attract hummingbirds, in addition to native plants rich in nectar.
  • Group similar plants together and choose species with different blooming periods so that there will be a steady supply of flowers nearly year round.
  • Leave some sticks and small branches on bushes and trees to enable ready perches for hummingbirds.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides in your yard.
  • Encourage your neighbors to make their yards hummingbird friendly. An entire corridor of habitat is much more valuable than scattered patches.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Spring Bird Feeder Frenzy

I can't keep up with all the birds coming to the feeders. I'm looking for any advice.

You only have to feed as much as you want. I like to watch all the bird interactions and all the new birds arriving, but you can limit the number of feeders or the amount of food offered to make it more enjoyable and not a chore.

After a long migration or harsh winter, birds are hungry and appreciate an easy meal to rebuild their energy. However as a lot more food sources became available, there should be a drop in the numbers of starlings and blackbirds visiting.

Thankfully it looks like the cold weather is finally going to leave us for a while. The rains and now the warm weather brings a lot of bugs, a favorite food for many growing families. And vegetarians like the American Goldfinches are also enjoying soft spring leaves as well as a plethora of dandelion and grass seeds.
But, don’t forget to keep your feeders clean to keep your birds healthy. And provide an area with a birdbath. Water is a powerful attraction and will increase the number and variety of birds coming to your yard. In fact parent birds will often bring babies to the bird bath as their first road trip.

Related articles:
- Can birds become dependent on bird feeders? http://goo.gl/GZYpke
- Do we stop feeding suet in the summer? http://bit.ly/GKWSRt
- Feeding Baby Birds http://bit.ly/GSHKwY
- Attracting Michigan Songbirds http://bit.ly/GKYw5q

Friday, May 26, 2017

Photo Share: Ravens of the Tower of London

Jubilee and Munin, Ravens of the Tower of London.[1]
Attribution: © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
The results the Wikimedia Commons picture of the year contest was announced and a pair of ravens clearly took center stage. The intriguing image, seen above, features Jubilee and Munin, two of the Tower of London’s six ravens. Jubilee was hatched in Somerset in 2012 and wears a gold band. He was given to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. Munin was hatched in North Uist in 1995 and wears a light green band. She is the oldest raven at the tower. The photo was taken by Wikimedia volunteer Colin.[2]

The presence of Ravens is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the tower; a superstition holds that "if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it".

Colin discovered the ravens' antics while on a family excursion to the Tower of London. “These two ravens were posing together on a railing, and I joined with everyone else in taking photos of them. They are big birds, and very intelligent. When I got home, I discovered this photo captured a funny moment where they seemed to be doing a little song and dance routine, with their wings out slightly and one bird talking.”

Sources Wikipedia & Wikimedia Commons:
1. "A Guide to the Tower Ravens" (PDF). Historic Royal Palaces: Tower of London. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
2.  Two ravens’ ‘song and dance routine’ wins picture of the year

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Maintaining a bird feeder

Having 2 sets of feeders helps in maintenance
A bird feeder full of fresh seed that your local birds prefer is good for birds and bird watchers alike. But without proper maintenance, it can become harmful. Just like setting up a restaurant, you must provide your customers with a safe and pleasant dining experience.

Seed Feeders should be cleaned at least once a month or more often during times of heavy use or wet weather. Disassemble, soak and scrub feeders in a mixture of one part bleach or vinegar to nine parts water with a little soap for at least three minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow to completely dry before refilling.

Hummingbird feeder cleaning should be even more frequent. Wash your hummer feeders at least once a week when it is below 70 degrees and at least twice a week when it is above 70 degrees. Cleaning will help prevent mold and deadly fermentation.

Of course, watching birds is more fun than cleaning dirty feeders. Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize the workload. The easiest way is to bring your feeders in to the Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing to have them professionally cleaned. Many of our customers create a rotation schedule with two sets of feeders so that when one set is cleaned, disinfected and dried a second set of feeders are in use. How the Wild Birds Unlimited feeder wash works http://Keep feeders clean.html

Related Articles:
Prevent moldy birdseed and the spread of diseases http://prevent-moldy-birdseed.html

How to choose the best suet cake http://bit.ly/xATYPQ
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh
Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/vZ6gzM
Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/xUGKA

How to clean hummer feeders http://how to clean hummer feeders.html 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stormy gray bird with sun shining through

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Some migrant birds are still on the move. I had an American Redstart female in the viburnum last weekend. She was stunning! A tiny, slim gray warbler with touches of warm yellow-orange feathers on the sides, wings, and tail. She looked like a fierce rain cloud with the sun peeking through.

She had a similar silhouette to a goldfinch but, her twitchy movements caught my eye. American Redstarts are known for their distinctive foraging behavior of flicking their brightly colored tails to stir up insects from foliage. During migration, many warblers stop to rest in dense shrubby habitats where food and water is available. They are excellent bug catchers but may check out your suet, nut or mealworm feeders for a quick bit of extra energy after a long flight.

Related Articles: 
Provide a safe habitat to encourage migrating birds http://provide-safe-habitat.html
Birds of Michigan Field Guide http://bit.ly/oW0XCD
Blue-headed Vireo's peak migration http://blue-headed-vireos.html
Wagging Warbler http://wagging-warbler.html
Black-and-yellow Warbler http://black-and-yellow-warbler.html
Nashville Warbler not from Tennessee http://nashville-warbler.html 
Bay-breasted warbler pictures http://bay-breasted-warbler.html 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First babies of the season

Keep your eyes peeled for the first babies of the season at the feeders. Yesterday I had a family of House Finches at the feeders. Daddy was eating the No-mess birdseed blend and the babies were looking on and begging for food. They were out of luck. Daddy told them their begging days were over and it was time for them to eat like big birds.

Some baby birds look exactly like the parents but you can still tell they are babies by their constant fluttering and begging. House Finch young look similar to the females except for the fluffy head plumes that stick up like unwieldy cowlicks on little kids or fuzzy antennae.
Watch the adorable video from: https://youtu.be/q_fVSSaAxug
Related Articles:
Funny looking birds showing up at the feeder http://strange-birds.html
Time to Change: Young splotchy red House Finch http://young-splotchy-red-finch.html
House Finch feeding his baby http:/house-finch-feeding-his-baby.html
Compare House Finches and Purple Finches http://bit.ly/oOogOf
Why male and females are a different color http://bit.ly/ueILUf
Baby cardinal with two distinctive head feathers http://goo.gl/J0isco
Remove all winter wreaths before finches begin nesting in them http://goo.gl/OeyOS

Monday, May 22, 2017

Birds nest pictures

This nest blew out of a tree, but it was so pretty I thought I'd share a picture.. it actually is prettier in person.

Thank you for sharing the photo with us! The Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing also has a thing of beauty growing in our front sign. Some House Sparrows have been building a masterpiece. Dolly (cat) has been fascinated with the long pieces of grass they are struggling to carry up to their hom'e'.

Nests are structures built, or modified, to provide some security from the hazards of the world outside. They vary enormously among species in their form, size and composition. Although there is enough similarity in nest design for a nest connoisseur to recognize which species built a nest, we do not know how a bird knows what nest shape/size to build. It is possible that a bird comes into the world with a template that provides the basic information as to what a nest should be like and how it should be constructed, but learns during the construction process to improve building performance.
It is not out of the question that birds learn about nest materials and construction while in the nest, so one would expect to see significant similarity between the nests built by parents and offspring.

Source: Nest building by birds

Related Articles:
Bird Nest Basics http://bit.ly/sqNq0u
Is it too early to put up a birdhouse? http://bit.ly/tmN9rj
How do you know when a nest is abandoned? http://bit.ly/usMPY8
Goldfinches: The Last Birds Nesting http://bit.ly/sqafTq
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/uWN7fE
Common Backyard Bird Nest Identification http://bit.ly/sVfipj

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why the yellow finches have disappeared

Has anyone mentioned that the goldfinches have stopped coming to the feeders?

American Goldfinches are common feeder visitors that prefer Nyjer® (thistle) and sunflower seeds. But every year after American Goldfinches have completed their spring molt, a lot of them leave the feeders for awhile and wander widely. Usually when the dandelions bloom, the goldfinches get the urge to forage for fresh, yummy weed, grass, and flower seeds along with tender leaves from trees and other plants.

American Goldfinches are the only common feeder bird in Michigan that molt all their feathers twice a year. Most birds only go through an annual fall molt. So in early spring the goldfinches are famished. They need a lot of energy to grow bright new feathers and you can be filling feeders daily. As we head into summer the feeder activity decreases.

Goldfinches don't nest until late summer. They are footloose and fancy free to forage wherever they want. Some still visit the feeders but not as frequently or in as many numbers.

You should still keep the feeders clean and full of fresh seed. Keep in mind that during the summer Nyjer® (thistle) only stays fresh for about a month or two. It keeps longer if it is stored in a cool and dry location.

Then at the end of June the activity increases again. As they get ready to nest, there is excitement in the air. The goldfinches settle in to one territory. If your food is still fresh or you have blooming flowers with seed heads, you will likely have goldfinches visiting. And by the end of July the babies will show up too!

And if you don’t have a natural water source nearby, set up a bird bath. Place it among shrubs and low-branched trees so goldfinches can keep watch for predators while descending gradually toward the water. Wild birds can obtain some water from their food, but goldfinches are vegetarians and like to sip from shallow baths where available to wet their whistle.

Related Articles:
What is Nyjer Thistle? http://t.co/Gg2AxQg
Where are my finches? http://t.co/FRqa7eo
Goldfinch colors: Why aren't all the goldfinches yellow? http://t.co/c57skHi
Is There a Way to Attract More Goldfinches to My Yard? http://t.co/RB1cqWf

Saturday, May 20, 2017

How long it takes for hummingbirds to come to a feeder

How do hummingbirds find and figure out a glass bottle full of sugar water is food?
Weather is a big factor in how long it takes for hummingbirds to find a feeder. A good, wet spring that produces nectar filled blooms and protein packed bugs means there will be less activity at hummingbird feeders. Drought years are the hardest for the hummingbirds and you will notice instant attraction to feeder feeding as they attempt to find additional reliable food sources.

Another factor in determining how long it takes a hummingbird to discover a feeder is if you are in an area that has a lot of feeders. Hummingbirds are amazing birds with many inborn abilities. However looking for feeders is a learned action. They know how to look for the signs of food. The first hummers that came to feeders probably saw bees, ants and other insects investigating a feeder. Those feeders serving yummy food would have had the hummingbirds returning and they would have taught the kids to feed too.

Hummingbirds have an outstanding memory. A hummingbird's brain is very large in comparison to their body size. They know every flower in their territory and how long it will take each flower to produce more nectar. And yes that is probably the same hummingbird that comes back year after year to your feeder. They remember where each and every hummingbird feeder is, both at home and along a migration path. Hummingbirds have been observed watching older hummingbirds to learn some tricks and tips. They also learn which people are the ones responsible for filling hummingbird feeders, and which ones don't.

At the end of summer I watch the bumbling baby hummers jump from flower to flower, feeder to feeder, red chair to red hat, as they learn how to forage. Hummingbirds find food by sight so hang the feeder where they will be able to see it as they fly over your yard. Also a feeder may be found sooner if hung near a flower garden or hanging flower basket.

If you put up a new feeder, be patient. It may be an instant hit or it may take them awhile to figure it out. But always keep the feeder clean and the nectar fresh even if you see no activity. In late summer it gets hot and invariably momma and babies will visit along with migrating birds as they bulk up to fly south.

Related Articles:
What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://goo.gl/MK3AU
Fun Facts about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds http://goo.gl/jcjcr
The Best Hummingbird Feeders http://bit.ly/L4yY3i
Why the color on a hummingbirds’ throat flashes http://bit.ly/JZ31qX
When did people start to feed hummingbirds? http://bit.ly/o8Y8HR

Friday, May 19, 2017

Photo Share: Sora bird

The Sora is a small and secretive bird that prefers wetlands. Their distinctive descending whinny call is commonly heard, but actually seeing the little marsh-walker is much more difficult.
If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Your local Wild Birds Unlimited is the best place to buy wild bird seed

Just as people have diverse dining preferences, wild birds also have different food tastes. These preferences can be indulged to attract the greatest variety of birds to your backyards.

When choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds I always make sure sunflower is the first ingredient. I also like seed blends with nuts. Sunflower seed is the favorite of most seed eating birds like finches and cardinals while the peanuts will attract bug eating birds like chickadees, wrens, jays and woodpeckers.

Wild Birds Unlimited East Lansing has a few tons of fresh seed delivered each week and offers several unique blends that are formulated specially for birds in our area. All Wild Birds Unlimited blends are free of Filler Seeds.

Filler Seeds like milo, wheat and oats, as well as artificial colors and flavorings are ingredients not preferred by most birds and are generally, left uneaten and found in a pile on the ground. These fillers add bulk to the bag and lower the price, but they are undesired by the birds, and leftover seed on the ground may attract rodents.

The East Lansing  Wild Birds Unlimited customers’ preference by far is the unique No-Mess Blend which contains sunflower seeds and peanut pieces without the shells. No shells on the seeds make for a tidier feeding area, since there's nothing on the ground to clean up. Pound for pound, our No-Mess Blend offers the best value because you do not pay for the shells. The birds eat everything happily.

Or if squirrels drive you nuts or blackbirds and starlings crowd your feeder, you might try the safflower solution. Safflower is a small, white, bitter seed that is high in protein and fat. Many favorite backyard birds - including cardinals, chickadees, finches, doves, woodpeckers, titmice and nuthatches- savor safflower. Blackbirds, starlings, and squirrels typically refuse to eat safflower seed.

By offering your birds Wild Birds Unlimited seed, you are providing the highest quality calories and making sure that every penny that you spend is going towards feeding the hungry friends outside your windows.

Related Articles:
How to choose the best suet cake http://bit.ly/xATYPQ
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh
Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/vZ6gzM
Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/xUGKA

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Photo Share: Shorebirds staging at Parker River NWR

If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Should I or shouldn’t I continue: Why I love to feed birds in the spring

Customer Hand-feeding a Yellow-rumped Warbler
There are always debates (sometimes in the same household) should I or shouldn’t I feed the birds in the spring. I love to feed the birds year-round. And each year I am rewarded by catching glimpses of new birds that show up exhausted and hungry from migration. While some warblers are still on their way to Michigan, this year I’ve already had kinglets, thrushes, grosbeaks, buntings, orioles, wrens and many more visiting. Some are just making emergency pit stops where they can grab a quick bite and a little rest before continuing north. Others make homes in or near my yard visiting occasionally and bringing babies up later on in the season!

Spring is a stressful time for the birds as they stake out territories, find mates, and raise families. I like to give them a little assistance. In return I get a yard full of beautiful birdsong, a rainbow of colors flying through the air and natural bug eaters patrolling the lawn.

The average backyard can be visited regularly by 15 to 20 different bird species. Offering a good seed, suet, mealworms, nectar and fruit as well as water is the best way to see a large variety of birds.

Wild Birds Unlimited offers several unique bird foods that are formulated specially for birds in our area, and all are free of cereal fillers and preservatives.

Bird feeding allows us to learn more about how birds behave, interact and raise their young. It is also an easy way to get our children outside, teach them about nature, and show them a way to focus on our world of green, not on a screen. Bird feeding gives us all a chance to create havens in our yard that contributes to preserving wildlife.

Related Articles:
How to choose the best suet cake http://bit.ly/xATYPQ
How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh
Why do Birds Scatter Seeds from Feeders? http://bit.ly/vZ6gzM
Choosing a seed blend to feed wild birds http://goo.gl/xUGKA

Monday, May 15, 2017

Small blue bird at thistle feeder

We've had a lot of calls lately about a small deep blue bird on the finch feeders. The Indigo buntings have arrived! They are little birds about the same size as goldfinches. Females are brown with buff wingbars. The Indigo male can look almost black until the sun hits and you view the most brilliant blue bird. They are a common migrant and breeder in Michigan from May until September.

Indigo buntings breed in brushy and weedy areas at the edge of openings like the edges of farm fields, or along rivers, roads or railroad tracks.

These Indigo buntings may fly as far as 2000 miles between their wintering and breeding grounds. If they hear a lot of bird activity in your yard they may stop by and spend a few days at the feeders that contain Nyger Thistle or No-Mess blend which has the sunflower chips, peanuts, and millet without the hulls.

Related Articles:
- Do We Have Indigo Buntings in Michigan? http://t.co/tUlMhMW
- Gardening for birds http://bit.ly/K5IG0T
- Blue Jays aren't blue http://bit.ly/zlNPHx
- How birds and bees see UV light http://bit.ly/wLilkP 

- Types of Bird feathers http://bit.ly/J8aZMh

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#DuckQuacks Don't Echo

If you are taking a canoe ride this weekend and happen to pass under a bridge with some quacking ducks, will their quacks echo?  

"A duck's quack doesn't echo" is a much quoted myth. It may seem like it doesn't echo because it's too quiet, or the echo of a quack fades in and out.

However, University of Salford, Salford, Greater Manchester actually recorded a duck in a "echo" chamber and were able to record the reverberation of a duck quack successfully: Reverberant duck in MP3 format (41k)

Source: (c) University of Salford, www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk

Related Articles:
Five popular Fall bird feeding myths http:/five-popular-fall-bird-feeding-myths.html
Debunking a turkey myth http:/debunking-turkey-myth.html
Reindeer: The Truth Behind the Legend http:/reindeer myth.html
Will Snakes will cross over rope http:/snake-myth.html
The origin of the Easter Bunny http:/easter-bunny.html
Why Do Ostriches Bury Their Heads in Sand? http:/ostriches-bury-their-heads.html

Saturday, May 13, 2017

#HappyMothersDay: Why the stork brings babies

From Wikimedia:
According to European folklore, the stork is responsible for bringing babies to new parents. The legend is very ancient, but was popularized by a 19th-century Hans Christian Andersen. German folklore held that storks found babies in caves or marshes and brought them to households in a basket on their backs or held in their beaks. These caves contained "stork stones". The babies would then be given to the mother or dropped down the chimney. Households would notify when they wanted children by placing sweets for the stork on the window sill. From there the folklore has spread around the world.

In many cultures, storks represent fertility, springtime and good luck.
- In Roman times, if a stork built a nest on your roof, it was seen as a blessing and a promise of never-ending love from Venus. (Aristotle went as far as to make killing storks a crime.)  
- Storks are considered harbingers of good fortune. In Germany, they are known as “adebar,” meaning “luck-bringer.”
- Although they originally nested in trees, storks easily adapted to nesting on rooftops and chimneys.
In the Netherlands, a stork nesting on one’s roof is viewed as a good omen for the family who lives there. Easy access to chimneys makes the perfect passageway for both Santa and babies. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Photo Share: Spring excitement

I hope you and Dolly are doing well! We have our spring excitement here.
We wanted to share some photos.
Our pair of Bluebirds came back to nest again this year. The bluebirds laid 5 eggs and we have 5 babies.
Our Grosbeaks male and female have arrived. Male and Female Orioles(no picture yet). 

We have chickadees building a nest in one house and the house wren in another! The tree swallows tried for one nest box too. I have not seen them since.

So far everyone is getting along.

The last two pictures were a huge surprise to me! Everyone prefers the bison hair here. Including the red squirrel??? I had no idea they lined a nest? 

It was the cutest thing to see, pull out the hair and then wrap into a ball. He did grab some cotton first? Is this normal? He will have a nice warm nest!
Hope to see you soon, Holly 

Squirrels, especially red squirrels, get into big trouble collecting nesting material. Usually their gnawing habits and collection of nest materials can be destructive: balls of torn insulation, thistle socks, outdoor pillows… I'm glad yours found a good source without destroying anything. 

If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Multiply hummingbird feeders attract multiple birds

Is it true that having more than one hummingbird feeder attracts more hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds are very territorial. In general, more feeders means more birds. Multiple feeders helps if you have an aggressive bird that is chasing other hummers away. There is no way he can guard all the feeders all the time. If you space your feeders apart, in the front and backyard or just out of sight of the others, you give the girls a chance to eat in peace.

Females like to take advantage of a quick meal at the feeders. They do all the nest building and family rearing alone, leaving the males to fuss over territories. Multiple feeders, spread throughout your yard is a great way to encourage more hummingbirds to visit and keep the peace in your yard.

Hummingbirds find feeders by sight so hang the feeder where they will be able to see it as they fly over. Also a new feeder may be found sooner if hung near a flower garden or hanging flower basket.

And always make sure your nectar is fresh and the correct one part white sugar to four parts water solution. In hot weather you should clean your feeder at least twice a week even if there are no hummingbirds feeding. If a hummingbird comes by to check out your new feeder and finds it filled with spoiled food, they won’t return anytime soon. Watch the video: https://youtu.be/20TmpqOgYRE

Related Articles:
What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://goo.gl/MK3AU
Fun Facts about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds http://goo.gl/jcjcr
The Best Hummingbird Feeders http://bit.ly/L4yY3i
When to take hummingbird feeders down & other FAQ http://goo.gl/CspGnT
When did people start to feed hummingbirds?: http://bit.ly/o8Y8HR

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Are cowbirds a concern

Adult female Common Yellowthroat feeding a recently fledged Brown-headed Cowbird
I would say humans are more of a concern to the decline in the number of certain birds. As we fragment up the forests to develop the land, we create more nesting territory for Brown-headed Cowbirds. This also creates more nesting areas for European Starlings, House Sparrows and some other more favored birds like the American Robins and Northern Cardinals.

But cowbirds have attitude and are very smart. When I'm filling the feeder they hang around seemingly unconcerned. But they are always watching. They watch the other birds feeding and can even follow these other birds to their home and lay an egg in their nest.

Cowbirds are parasitic birds. They may lay up to 40 eggs per season in many other birds nests and expect those birds to foster their cowbird chick to maturity.

Where this is a concern is with warblers that have a hard enough time finding a dense forest to nest in without having to worry about raising an extra fledgling that usually hatches earlier than their own eggs and can be twice as big.

Cowbird control in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is believed widely to have saved the Kirtland’s Warbler from extinction and to have played a key role in population increases in the past 15 years. However, there was no growth in the warbler’s population for the first 17 years of cowbird control, and a large fire that preceded the recent population increase may instead have been the primary benefactor of the Kirtland’s Warbler.

Related Articles:
- How Do Cowbirds Learn to Sing? http://goo.gl/Y9HNDM
- How young cowbirds know they're cowbirds http://goo.gl/Jgmavd
- More about Cowbirds http://goo.gl/b1PkOd
- If cowbirds were in the summer Olympics http://goo.gl/Rajjtf

- Brown-headed Cowbird's courtship display http:/brown-headed-cowbirds-courtship.html