Birds of the Week # 44

Brown-headed Cowbird

The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is a small, obligate brood parasitic icterid native to temperate and subtropical North America. The species lives in open or semiopen country, and often travels in flocks, sometimes mixed with red-winged blackbirds (particularly in spring) and bobolinks (particularly in fall), as well as common grackles or European starlings. These birds forage on the ground, often following grazing animals such as horses and cattle to catch insects stirred up by the larger animals. They mainly eat seeds and insects. Before European settlement, brown-headed cowbirds followed bison herds across the prairies. Their population expanded with the clearing of forested areas and the introduction of new grazing animals by settlers across North America. They are now commonly seen at suburban birdfeeders.

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. Most mourning doves migrate along flyways over land. Birds in Canada migrate the farthest, probably wintering in Mexico or further south. Those that spend the summer further south are more sedentary, with much shorter migrations. At the southern part of their range, Mourning Doves are present year-round. Spring migration north runs from March to May. Fall migration south runs from September to November, with immatures moving first, followed by adult females and then by adult males. Migration is usually during the day, in flocks, and at low altitudes. 

© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

13 thoughts on “Birds of the Week # 44

  1. Brown-headed Cowbirds sometimes get a bad rap around here, but they look so good when they swing in with their grackle and Red-winged friends! I think Mourning Doves are also under rated– they have such beautiful subtle coloring!

    • I understand it if they are farmers, because their crops suffer but if they are getting bad rap because of beauty, then I think they’re wrong. Mourning Doves are not like Rock Pigeons which can become pests. Thank you, Julie. You’re a good sport. 🙂

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