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Kevin

brown headed cowbird juvenile. What should I do?

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so I have a pare of Blue-grey Gnatcatchers feeding a juvenile brown headed cowbird. It is out of the nest and can fly short distance at a time. and I was wondering if there is anything I should do?

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it pains me to see that sort of thing. But, legally and ethically, you can't do anything. The brown-headed cowbird, as much as some of us dislike them, are a native species and are therefore protected under federal law.  wish I could say something else but I can't.

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Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds nests so they are raised by other parents. Some juvenile birds fledge out of the nest before they can fully fly. The surrogate parents will continue to feed the juvenile if it is on the ground. A lot of times they will be able to fly/hop unto low lying bushes etc until they are able to fully fly.

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I'm thinking, perhaps I took the question wrong? There are people that get mad enough at cowbirds and this behavior that they'd want to harm them. I took the "what should I do?" as a "hey, can I get rid of this thing?"  Oops.. 

With any fledged birds, if they can fly a little ways it is best to leave them alone. I saw a chart the other day on what to do if you find a baby bird. I'll see if I can dig it up. If it's small and weak and can't fly at all, you can put it in the nest if you can find it. If it ever seems abandoned you can try to find a local rehabber.  But one that can fly some should be fine. They'll keep flying and getting stronger day by day.

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9 hours ago, millipede said:

I'm thinking, perhaps I took the question wrong?

Not completely. If there were Blue-grey Gnatcatcher chicks I would have considered removing the cowbird. at first it seemed that it could not fly then I saw it fly a short distance. Then I came in and asked. "what should I do?" Later I saw it fly quite well. Also I don't hate cowbirds but I don't love them. The chart would be nice.

Hope that answers your questions.🙂

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