Date: 5/16/18 4:44 pm
From: Hale, Stephen <Steve.Hale...>
Subject: Re: [NHBirds] cowbird question
Thank you Catherine. Very informative. The paper documents that female adult cowbirds do in fact remove hosts' eggs and nestlings, sometimes they carry them away, and sometimes they eat the eggs, but sometimes they do not eat the eggs. Nestlings are not eaten.



I appreciate you forwarding the paper.



Steve Hale

Open World Explorers

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From: <nhbirds...> <nhbirds...> on behalf of Catherine Fisher <catherineckx...>
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 7:30 PM
To: <srhale20...>
Cc: NH Birders
Subject: Re: [NHBirds] cowbird question

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Hi Steve,

Cowbirds don't always carry eggs away, but often do. It's interesting that yours wasn't eaten - which is something I've observed several times. The attached link to a study done in the early 90's gives some good information. https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v094n03/p0579-p0584.pdf<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__sora.unm.edu_sites_default_files_journals_condor_v094n03_p0579-2Dp0584.pdf&d=DwMFaQ&c=c6MrceVCY5m5A_KAUkrdoA&r=YTy0Zdsc21U9FTeXpLl5xQ6kRFYktSVI1uxuJ4j762c&m=khOQf7Kuqcz0o8YOFGp5LZFciIg24DoC7YwWucm4Y_I&s=TR4qFmfEWpj1ZiXkIfNQv2BbtHjdD6718mGDDHz_4xQ&e=>

On Wed, May 16, 2018 at 5:26 PM, Steve Hale <srhale20...><mailto:<srhale20...>> wrote:

Seeking some guidance on a cowbird question. Can and do cowbirds physically remove and transport the eggs from the nest of their hosts (victims)?

This evening, I found an intact egg from what I suspect is an Eastern Phoebe (a commonly parasitized host of the Brown-headed Cowbird) on my deck. There is no nest (of any species) beneath the eaves or on any structures from which the egg could have fallen. It had to be carried/transported and then either placed or dropped (without breaking) to its place on my deck. My guess is that a cowbird did this, but I am reaching out to the group for confirmation of this.

Inspection of the egg's dimensions suggest it would be a real mouthful (i.e., too large) for a cowbird, but perhaps the cranial kinetic skull and flexion zones in the upper and low jaws allow for this.

Any insights, real or speculative, are welcome.

Steve Hale
Open World Explorers

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