Prothonotary Warbler nest with Cowbird egg 5-8-2016

Prothonotary Warbler egg

Prothonotary Warbler egg

 

My prothonotary warblers have returned and are nesting.    This was the first egg that I found.   When I checked back about 2 days later, I found what I am fairly sure is a cowbird egg added to the nest.       Usually the warbler would keep laying eggs and the cowbird typically only adds one egg per nest.   Usually the warblers will incubate the cowbird egg and feed the hatchling.    The cowbirds are what are known as “obligatory brood parasites”.    They do not make their own nests, or raise their own young.   The cowbird egg usually hatches first and they are big birds and the cowbird hatchling frequently gets all of the food and the warbler hatchlings die.   Typically though, the warbler parents will still feed the cowbird hatchling.

 

Bigger Cowbird egg added to existing Prothonotary Warbler nest.

Bigger Cowbird egg added to existing Prothonotary Warbler nest.

 

I kept following, but no more eggs were laid in this nest.    That is unusual.    Typically I would expect to see one more Prothonotary Warbler egg added per day up to a total of about six.     It looks like the Prothonotary Warbler abandoned this nest.     I can not be sure that it was the same warblers, but eggs started appearing in a new nest just about fifty meters down the creek and did get up to six eggs.   This time without any Cowbird eggs.

 

Six Prothonotary Warbler eggs.

Six Prothonotary Warbler eggs.

 

I got a photo of the male associated with this nest this morning.

 

Prothonotary Warbler Male

Prothonotary Warbler Male

 

He was protecting his territory.     Since it is Mothers Day, I should probably have posted a picture of the female, but the females are too busy incubating to post for pictures.

The mother of my children is at the hospital delivering babies this morning.   She is a great mom and helping other women to become mothers.

 

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3 Responses to Prothonotary Warbler nest with Cowbird egg 5-8-2016

  1. Great pics and story. Do you think the warblers abandoned the nest because of the cowbird’s egg?
    Happy Mother’s Day to Lorraine!
    Dad and I talked about Mom this morning. He keeps her photo next to his recliner and occasionally “gives her sugars”.

  2. William Apgar says:

    Hey Jack, thanks a lot for posting. I really enjoyed the photos. Those little birds must be incredible to be monitoring.

    Bill Apgar,
    MA

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