Cardinal feeding a cowbird

Earlier this year I asked my parents if they ever saw any juvenile cowbirds in their yard being tended by a host parent. The answer was no, but they never really thought to look. This year my mom was on the lookout and whattaya know, she saw this:

Baby cowbird begging cardinal for foodFeed me!
Mom took this video of the baby begging and being fed by ‘dad.’ Thanks for sending the video, mom!

I’ve never seen this myself. We have two pairs of Northern Cardinals visiting our feeders but I have not seen any of them with juveniles of any species. We had a lot of cowbirds in our yard until about a month ago, when I changed the mix of food we offer to mostly finch favorites. We’re visiting my parents tomorrow so maybe I’ll have a chance to see this firsthand. Have you ever seen baby cowbirds being tended by a host species parent?

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4 Responses to Cardinal feeding a cowbird

  1. Andrea Norris says:

    I just came upon your blog while looking for pictures of orchard oriole nests – we think we have one in an apple tree, but it’s kind of late for them to be nesting.
    Anyway, this summer we had a female summer tanager on our deck, desperately trying to keep up with feeding a very greedy baby cowbird. Having seen your mother’s video, I’m now sure it was a cowbird.
    This is in Baldwin City, Kansas, a bit southeast of Lawrence.

  2. Buffy89 says:

    I just saw almost the exact same thing your mom saw, but in this case it was the mother cardinal feeding the baby cowbird.

  3. gvan says:

    I’ve seen this in my backyard on a regular basis for two years now.

  4. Amy says:

    gvan – I hope you’re seeing some baby cardinals sometimes, too.

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