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BIRDS

Categorized by genus/species, placed chronologically by common name

    American Coot

    American Crow

    American Flamingo*

    American Goldfinch

    American Kestrel

    American Oystercatcher*

    American Robin

    American Tree Sparrow

    American White Pelican

    Bald Eagle

    Baltimore Oriole

    Barn Swallow

    Barnacle Goose*

    Belted Kingfisher

    Black-and-White Warbler

    Black-Capped Chickadee

    Black-Headed Gull*

    Black Vulture*

    Blue Jay

    Blue Tit*

    Blue-Winged Teal

    Bobolink

    Bobwhite

    Broad-Winged Hawk

    Brown Creeper

    Brown-Headed Cowbird

    Brown Thrasher

    Bufflehead

    Canada Goose

    Canvasback

    Cape May Warbler*

    Carolina Chickadee*

    Carolina Wren

    Cedar Waxwing

    Chipping Sparrow

    Common Gallinule

    Common Goldeneye

    Common Grackle

    Common Gull*

    Common Merganser

    Common Moorhen*

    Common Pochard*

    Common Redpoll

    Cooper's Hawk

    Dark-Eyed Junco

    Dicksissel

    Double-Crested Cormorant

    Downy Woodpecker

    Eastern Bluebird

    Eastern Goldfinch - See American Goldfinch

    Eastern Kingbird

    Eastern Meadowlark

    Eastern Phoebe

    Eastern Towhee

    Eastern Wood Pewee

    Eurasian Blackbird*

    Eurasian Collared Dove

    Eurasian Coot*

    Eurasian Jackdaw*

    Eurasian Magpie*

    Eurasian Tree Sparrow*

    European Serin*

    European Starling

    Fox Sparrow

    Golden-Crowned Kinglet

    Golden-Fronted Woodpecker*

    Gray Catbird

    Graylag Goose

    Great Black-backed Gull*

    Great Blue Heron

    Great Cormorant*

    Great Egret

    Great Grey Shrike

    Great Spotted Woodpecker*

    Great Tit*

    Greater Flamingo*

    Greater White-Fronted Goose*

    Hairy Woodpecker

    Harlequin Duck

    Hermit Thrush

    Herring Gull

    Hooded Crow*

    Horned Lark

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    House Wren

    Indigo Bunting

    Killdeer

    Laughing Gull*

    Lesser Black-backed Gull*

    Lesser Scaup

    Lincoln's Sparrow

    Magnolia Warbler

    Mallard (Domestic)

    Mallard (Wild)

    Mourning Dove

    Mute Swan*

    Neotropic Cormorant*

    Northern Cardinal

    Northern Flicker

    Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

    Northern Shoveler

    Northern Shrike - See Great Grey Shrike

    Orange-Crowned Warbler

    Painted Bunting*

    Palm Warbler

    Red-Bellied Woodpecker

    Red-Breasted Nuthatch

    Red-Headed Woodpecker

    Red-Legged Thrush*

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    Red-Winged Blackbird

    Ring-Billed Gull

    Ring-Necked Duck

    Rock Pigeon

    Rook*

    Ross's Goose*

    Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

    Ruddy Turnstone*

    Sandwich Tern*

    Scarlet Tanager

    Smooth-Billed Ani*

    Solitary Sandpiper

    Song Sparrow

    Spotted Sandpiper

    Swamp Sparrow

    Syrian Woodpecker*

    Tricolored Heron*

    Tufted Duck*

    Tufted Titmouse

    Tundra Swan*

    Turkey Vulture

    White-Breasted Nuthatch

    White-Cheeked Pintail*

    White-Crowned Pigeon*

    White-Crowned Sparrow

    White-Eyed Vireo

    White-Throated Sparrow

    White-Winged Dove

    Wild Turkey

    Wilson's Warbler

    Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

    Yellow-Legged Gull

    Yellow-Rumped Warbler


MAMMALS

    American Beaver

    Common Raccoon

    Eastern Chipmunk

    Eastern Cottontail

    Eastern Fox Squirrel

    Eastern Gray Squirrel

    Groundhog - See Woodchuck

    Ground Squirrel - See Eastern Chipmunk

    Red Fox

    Striped Skunk

    Virginia Opossum

    White-Tailed Deer

    Woodchuck


Nature Blog Network
Monday, December 24, 2007

brown-headed cowbird flock 2

brown-headed cowbird female

Brown-Headed CowbirdMolothrus ater – also known as Le vacher à tête brune (French), Tordo negro (Spanish), Braunkopf-Kuhstärling (German), bruinkop-koevogel (Dutch), Rudagalvis karviaganis (Latvian?), Brunhodetrupial (Norwegian).

Still cleaning out the digital closet of old photos.

The Brown-Headed Cowbird is fascinating for the following reason:

“The Brown-headed Cowbird is the only brood parasite common across North America. A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds.”

Called the “cowbird” because:

“Originally a bison-following bird of the Great Plains, the Brown-headed Cowbird spread eastward in the 1800s as forests were cleared. It is a common bird across most of North America, but numbers are declining in most areas. Its habit of nest parasitism can cause the decline of species with small populations, such as Kirtland’s Warbler and Black-capped Vireo.”

When I first became interested in birding, Brown-Headed Cowbirds were so common that, ironically, I never bothered taking their picture. Then I moved and realized they really aren’t “everywhere,” for they prefer the open areas to the more urban spots. As fall came, however, they moved into mixed flocks with Red-Winged Blackbirds and others, or into giant flocks of just Brown-Headed Cowbirds (see the first photo). They then became quite common, again.

The male is easily identified by the black body and brown head. The female, however, looks like your typical “little brown bird.” Larger than a finch, but with a finch-ish beak (see second photo), the easiest way to identify it is by looking to see if male Brown-Headed Cowbirds are around. Compare the female Brown-Headed Cowbird to the female Red-Winged Blackbird, female House Sparrow, and the female House Finch.

During the summer, the Brown-Headed Cowbird lives throughout the contiguous United States. In the winter, the bird moves its range south and occupies most of the Eastern and Southeastern United States and Mexico.

Both photos taken with the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D and a Sigma 70-300mm Lens. The top photo was taken on October 24, 2007 in rural Mercer County, Illinois. The bottom photo of the female taken on April 29, 2007 in Davenport, Iowa.

Posted by: Mike in: Birds,Illinois,Iowa at 6:00 am

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  • http://www.chicagonaturelady.blogspot.com Chicago Nature Lady

    I really enjoy all the information you provide on your birds. I have to start saving money for a better camera like yours!

  • http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com Americaneocon

    Wishing you and yours the best this Christmas Day!

    Best wishes for the new year as well!

  • http://arkansasbirding.blogspot.com Karl C.

    Merry Christmas! Great information on the Cowbird. I’ve only seen one of the males in my backyard early on this past summer. I managed to snap a pic of him while he was there under my feeder. My yard is wooded and with them prefering more open areas, I probably don’t get them alot. Thanks for your informational posts!

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    Thanks for the comments!

    Chicago Nature Lady – the camera and lens are more affordable than you think! Drop me line sometime if you are interested and I can point you to the places I bought my stuff!

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INSECTS, ARACHNIDS, MYRIAPODS & GASTROPODS

Categorized by family, placed chronologically by common name

    Ants (Formicidae)

    Assassin Bugs (Reduviidae)

    Bee Flies (Bombyliidae)

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    Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae)

    Leaffooted Bugs (Coreidae)

    Leafhoppers (Cicadellidae)

    Lightning Bugs - See Fireflies

    Longhorned Beetles (Cerambycidae)

    Mantid Flies (Mantispidae)

    Mantids (Mantidae)

    Minettia Flies (Minettia)

    Narrow-Winged Damselflies (Coenagrionidae)

    New York Weevils (Ithyceridae)

    Orb-Weavers (Araneidae)

    Paper Wasps - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Picture-Winged Flies (Ulidiidae)

    Plant Bugs (Miridae)

    Robber Flies (Asilidae)

    Scarab Beetles (Scarabaeidae)

    Scentless Plant Bugs (Rhopalidae)

    Short-horned Grasshoppers (Acrididae)

    Signal Flies (Platystomatidae)

    Soft-Winged Flower Beetles (Melyridae)

    Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)

    Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)

    Sphinx Moths (Sphingidae)

    Spittlebugs (Cercopidae)

    Stink Bugs (Pentatomidae)

    Swallowtails (Papilionidae)

    Sweat Bees (Halictidae)

    Syrphid Flies (Syrphidae)

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    PLANTS

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      Palm Tree*

      Purple Coneflower

      Rose

      Sedum

      Spider Lily - See Spiderwort

      Spiderwort

      Stinkhorn

      Sweet Alyssum

      Tulip

      Whorled Tickseed

      Wild Pansy

      Yarrow


    REPTILES and AMPHIBIANS

      American Toad

      Common Garter Snake

      Eastern Box Turtle*

      Green Frog

      Long-Tailed Salamander*

      Northern Fence Lizard*

      Painted Turtle


    FISH

      Giant Sea Star*

      Nassau Grouper*

      Puffer Fish*

      Scrawled Filefish*

      Sergeant Major*

      Spanish Hogfish*

      Spotted Grouper*

      Stoplight Parrotfish*

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      Yellowtail Snapper*


    CRUSTACEANS

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