The Brown-headed Cowbirds have returned to my yard in huge numbers. Sigh.
I say I love all birds, but this species is my least favorite. They are pretty in their own way, in the right light, but their behavior is what I abhor. They are known to lay their eggs in the nests of warblers and songbirds, Not only do Cowbirds not build their own nests, they use the other birds to incubate their eggs. Once hatched, the warblers/songbirds also raise them along with their chicks, sometimes at the expense of their own young, since Cowbirds develop faster and are more demanding for food.
But what really gets my feathers ruffled (pun intended) is what they do to other species that don't go along with their devious scheme. Observers in the field noticed that if the Cowbird eggs were tossed from the nest, they would return to ransack and destroy that nest! Retaliation? Vengeance? These birds don't play and you'd better raise their young or else. A more in-depth article can be found here. It's quite fascinating.
This male was trying to get to my Bluebirds' mealworms, but thankfully, he's too large to balance himself on the feeders. They spend much of the afternoon at the bird bath and splash around like a bunch of rowdy hooligans.
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | 1/1000 sec