Chipping Sparrow & Cowbird Baby in Concord Township OH, 2007
Jeff Maass

Cowbirds don't build nests of their own - they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, and let them "adopt" their eggs! The host species will raise the cowbirds, often to the exclusion of their own. Over 200 species of birds are know to raise cowbird young!

I caught these photos of a Chipping Sparrow raising her Cowbird "offspring", who is already twice her size! The baby was making the unmistakable "Feed Me" sound until she placed a husked sunflower seed into it's mouth. Repeat. Mom flew off a couple of times, leaving the baby on his own. He would peck and find some of his own seeds, but would run after whatever other kind of bird was nearby and squeal "Feed Me!" at them (they ignored him). Mom always came back after a short rest break.

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