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Old May 27th, 2011, 12:33 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just east of the Hazelnut Patch, Wisconsin
Posts: 52,418
They banded quite a variety of birds. Some were year-round residents, like this white-breasted nuthatch:

Name:  The one and only white-breasted nuthatch for the day 5-24-11.jpg
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Others were migrants, like this handsome Baltimore oriole male:

Name:  Baltimore oriole 5-24-11 A.jpg
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And some were less welcome migrants, like this very lucky brown-headed cowbird female. Brown-headed cowbirds are nest parasites--they lay their eggs in smaller birds' nests to have the host parents raise their young. Often, the cowbird young will push the other hatchlings or eggs out of the nest. This can really impact the number of small songbirds hatched from an area. For example--last year we had lots of chipping sparrows and a normal amount (for us) of cowbirds. A fair number of chipping sparrows were parasitized last summer and this year we have lots of cowbirds and very few chipping sparrows.

Name:  A very lucky cowbird 5-24-11.jpg
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Normally, cowbirds stuck to the plains, but human activities such as road building and farming, have opened up new territory for them. If they have a corridor (a power-line right of way in our case) they can extend far into the forest and parasitize new species that had never been reachable for them before.

Why did I call this one lucky? This is the one species of native bird that the WI DNR allows people to dispatch because they have such a negative impact on other native birds. One female cowbird can parasitize maybe 70 nests in her lifetime. There was some discussion about whether to dispatch this one or release her. hazel was outvoted and the bird was released. Very lucky, indeed.
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