Sunday, August 10, 2008
San Angelo S.P. Cowbird Mystery Solved
Okay, maybe that's a hair over-dramatic. But as noted in previous posts the number of Brown-Headed Cowbirds have been almost zero over the last couple of weeks. As also noted, I'm not complaining. I have a significant level of contempt for Brown-Headed Cowbirds. They are parasitic breeders--they lay their eggs in other bird's nests getting those birds to raise the young cowbirds, often causing the death of the host fledglings. And since each female can have up to 10 broods a year of 4-5 eggs each, their potential for havoc is enormous.
Walking into the bird blind this morning, a large sign was up from Texas Parks & Wildlife Division explaining the presence of cages on the grounds of the park that effectively act as traps for cowbirds. Once captured, the Brown-Headed Cowbirds are put down humanely. This thins the numbers in the area, allowing other species to recover.
My only complaint would be that this would have been best done in early spring rather than late summer so as to stop the cascading effect of cowbirds being raised during the summer. But it is at least a start. Fingers crossed that this will help restore some order in the ecosystem for native species.
Image: Brown-Headed Cowbird, San Angelo S.P., (c) 2008 Jim Miller