Date: 5/15/17 7:28 am
From: Joan Reynolds <joanreynolds...>
Subject: Re: WHO ARE THE REAL COWBIRDS?
I would suggest *Molothrus ater* have a more fitting common name:
Brown-headed Buffalo Bird, or just Buffalo Bird. That might help people id
the real cowbirds.

On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 1:22 AM, martha strother <
<000000ad14e4acd0-dmarc-request...> wrote:

> Hear, hear!
>
> Martha in Little Rock's University District
>
>
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Joseph Neal <joeneal...>
> *To:* <ARBIRD-L...>
> *Sent:* Sunday, May 14, 2017 4:58 PM
> *Subject:* WHO ARE THE REAL COWBIRDS?
>
> Worked on the Washington County version of International Migratory Bird
> Day today. My assignment: Woolsey Wet Prairie Wildlife Sanctuary,
> mitigation wetlands associated with Fayetteville’s West Side Wastewater
> Treatment Facility.
>
> It is very much a wet prairie right now because of recent heavy rain.
> Clay-rich soils at Woolsey, and elsewhere on former prairies around
> Fayetteville, have relatively long water retention times. Wet ground like
> this was never effectively plowed, and as a direct result, retained
> diversity of native plants and animals.
>
> I suspect the migration peak here occurred a week ago, with big storms. As
> a result, most of what I observed today were local nesters. Eastern
> Meadowlarks, Dickcissels, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, American
> Robins, Common Yellowthroats, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Blue
> Grosbeaks, Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, etc. Of for-sure
> through-migrants, only Solitary Sandpiper, Marsh Wren, Lincoln’s Sparrow,
> and one suspected Willow Flycatcher. Also found a few lingering Savannah
> Sparrows.
>
> One bird that surprised me was a Louisiana Waterthrush, singing in
> forested bottomlands flooded by the clean discharge from the treatment
> plant. City mothers and fathers should be glad to hear that.
>
> There were also a few Brown-headed Cowbirds. We birders get our
> self-righteous feathers in a huff when it comes to cowbirds, and
> ecologically-speaking, for good reason. But when I saw them today it was
> with the backdrop of a whole neighborhood being constructed atop a seasonal
> wetland directly across from Woolsey.
>
> It was not that long ago this former prairie, separated from Woolsey only
> by Broyles Avenue, was clothed in Indian grass and Big Bluestem grass, was
> winter roost for Short-eared Owls. Migration stop for Upland Sandpipers.
> Nesting ground for Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows.
>
> City of Fayetteville bills itself as an environmental leader. I don’t want
> to take anything away from civic leaders who really care about this stuff.
> But consider that several years ago, U of A graduate students tried to work
> with City of Fayetteville to save part of this property in order to protect
> relatively rare frogs, snakes, and salamanders well-documented to occur
> there. Unfortunately, a lot of $$$ is involved. As Bob Dylan once observed,
> money don’t talk, it swears.
>
> So I ask myself, who are the metaphorical cowbirds here? Real Brown-headed
> Cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of others. Metaphorical cowbirds
> preside over wholesale destruction of habitat for many creatures,
> despoiling Earth itself.
>
>
>
>

 
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