My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

For My Brother

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Male Brown-headed Cowbird

By; Pat Coate

My post last week on Canada geese behavior prompted the following comment from my brother: “…here in the sophisticated South, we view Canada geese as poop-spewing menaces.” There are actually quite a few birds that people consider menaces for a variety of reasons. So, sticking with that theme, today’s post covers a few ‘menace’ birds.

The brown-headed cowbird is not so much a menace to people as to other birds. The female brown-headed cowbird does not build its own nest but lays its eggs in the nest of other birds. Its eggs often hatch before the host bird’s eggs and its young develop faster increasing their chance for survival.

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Backyard Blue Jay

I enjoy having blue jays at my feeder. The ones at my feeder seem well-behaved: they come in for a seed and head off to a nearby tree to enjoy it. However, Calvin Simonds in his book Private Lives of Garden Birds tells the tale of his neighbor’s venomous view of blue jays. Her view contains such descriptions as “bandits”, “brigands just like crows” and “greedy mobs.” I think they are beautiful birds unless……

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Molting Blue Jay?

…you happen to catch them on a bad feather day.

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Common Grackle

The common grackle is the menace of my feeder. Though I think they have a certain beauty with their sleek bodies, iridescence and striking yellow eyes, they are loud and will often dominate the feeder. They favor a couple neighborhood trees for their evening gatherings and I have wondered if their raucous chatterings were inspiration to Alfred Hitchcock.


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5 responses

  1. I like seeing the first grackles in the spring, but I hate the way they spend the warm months raiding nests for eggs and nestling. Good post

    8 April 2010 at 9:56 am

  2. Your Backyard Blue Jay photograph is beautiful.

    8 April 2010 at 12:16 pm

  3. Tom Allen

    I am the brother whose reputation was impugned in the headline of this item, and I have to say that, coincidentally, I’ve actually been called a brown-headed cowbird many times. Being called most anything would probably be a compliment to the poor blue jay having the bad feather day in the photo above.

    8 April 2010 at 3:06 pm

  4. I had three bald jays at my feeders in the late summer. It took about a month for them to grow their new feathers. As a Canadian, I agree that Canada Geese are poop-spewing menaces. I would rather meet a dog any day than a hissing goose.

    8 April 2010 at 8:15 pm

  5. Grace

    Have you seen the grackle with the white tail feathers around the admin. bldg. yet this year?

    12 April 2010 at 11:12 pm

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