BCC Feeding a much larger chick from its nest

by Jeff Hansen
(Vancouver, WA)

We have a black capped chickadee nest in a plant hangar right outside our bedroom window. The last chick from the nest is the only one we really saw, but it was a very large size when it flew across the side yard to the hedges. Now a week later we see this chick has grown to almost twice the size as the BCC, but has markings of a sparrow, (gray, darker gray and white).

It almost appears that this was an egg laid by another species and raised by the BCC's and because we have a small bird sanctuary with two feeders there is a large amount and variety of NW backyard birds. Attached is the one photo we could get before the little fat guy could fly off, but we missed getting the BCC feeding it.

Would love to know about this oddity and identify the small bird.

Jeff Hansen
SW Washington State

Comments for BCC Feeding a much larger chick from its nest

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Jun 19, 2014
cowbird NEW
by: Anonymous

I Wonder if our European equivalent is the cuckoo (named for its song - every year people compete to be the first to hear one). The cuckoo ONLY lays eggs in the nests of other birds and the chick gradually pushes the smaller chicks out - the adults don't know it isn't theirs, so they feed and raise it as if it were.
Remember John Wyndham's novel "The Midwich Cuckoos" ?

Jun 18, 2014
by: Jeff Hansen

A brown-headed cowbird to be exact.. Thank you, we'd looked at cowbird photo's prior to positing, but hadn't seen this exact type. I've coined it the 'welfare bird' due to the fact that the adopting parents still feeding it in our side-yard. It squawks as they feed it and eats by itself in between runs... lazy bird didn't fall far from mama's nesting techniques.. I'm betting it continues to live in the the basement of the parent's nest....

Jun 18, 2014
Funny NEW
by: Joyce

That is really strange. I like the idea of it.

Jun 18, 2014
by: AuntGiki

probably a baby cowbird

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