Warbler and cowbird
Outdoor Ontario

Warbler and cowbird

Ed O'Connor

  • Old Timer
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    • Posts: 174
Last Sunday, I took a quick spin through Taylor Creek Park and the Lower Donlands as far as Pottery Road. The most productive area was south of Beechwood Drive and to the west of the main trail, past the old railroad tracks and over a bridge. There's a wide meadow on top of the hill there that's dotted with mulberry trees, young evergreens and thickets of serviceberry and other shrubs. In one of those thickets, I watched a yellow warbler feeding an immature cowbird. They were both out of the nest and flitting from spot to spot. The cowbird would hold in place while the warbler flew off, and when the warbler returned it would stuff small green catterpillars into the beak of the cowbird. It looked incongrous, if only because the cowbird was three times the size of its "parent"--reminding me of Baby Huey towering over his mother.

At the bottom of the hill and on the other side of the bridge, I saw a spotted sandpiper with two chicks so young they were still covered in down. They were on an open graveled area and the sandpiper flew off behind me while the chicks froze in place. When I didn't move, the bird came back and took one of the chicks under its wing for a moment, then walked to the other peeping softly before heading to the closest cover, a patch of weeds about six feet away. As it walked off, the bird started bobbing its tail, and the chicks followed immediately, making that same movement with their tails, the three of them bouncing in rhythm before disappearing into the weeds.

Other birds seen included a pair of orchard orioles. which seem to be semi-ubiquitous this year, and five wood ducks, the males already in molt.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Ed O'Connor »