Little Big Bird

A few years ago while sitting on a bench outside my workplace I noticed two birds running around making all kinds of noise. One was much larger than the other was so I assumed that she was the mother trying to feed her young. I couldn’t believe that the small bird, a lovely little sparrow, was jumping up an down trying to put food in the mouth of this ungrateful screeching little big bird who did nothing but keep his mouth open and run around as if he wasn’t getting enough to eat. The mother was exhausted from all this jumping about. I thought I’d give the mother a break and throw some breadcrumbs out there for them to share. Do you think the ‘Baby’ bird would feed itself – NO! It still waited for Mom to jump up and put the morsels in its mouth. If this were the real mother of this monster bird, then I would hate to see the father! I’ve heard of birds laying their eggs in ‘foreign’ nests but the least they could do is pick a surrogate mother their own size!

Since then I’ve been reading up on ‘brood parasites’ – that’s what they call these deadbeat mothers who leave it up to other birds to raise their babies. The one most popular in the Americas seems to be the Brown-headed Cowbird which is a pretty big bird in comparison to the sparrow. To help out the sparrow I decided to go into real estate – wild bird real estate that is: bird houses and feeders, plus baths and fountains. This way the sparrow can move in a small holed birdhouse and not worry about a bigger bird coming in and laying its eggs for her to raise. She can bring up her own little sparrows the way nature intended.