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What is the real poop on Cowbirds?

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My wife recently visited a friend on a 30 acre cattle ranch in southeast Texas. (south of Houston) She asked about these birds that were around the cattle. The friend's husband said that they were cowbirds and that they stayed with the cows all the time and fed on flies. He never had a fly or pinkeye problem. Was he kidding her? I did a google search and did not find much other than cowbirds lays their eggs in other bird's nest and feed on insect in the summer and grain in the winter. What is the real poop on cowbirds?
 

dun

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oggie1":u9nbri9y said:
My wife recently visited a friend on a 30 acre cattle ranch in southeast Texas. (south of Houston) She asked about these birds that were around the cattle. The friend's husband said that they were cowbirds and that they stayed with the cows all the time and fed on flies. He never had a fly or pinkeye problem. Was he kidding her? I did a google search and did not find much other than cowbirds lays their eggs in other bird's nest and feed on insect in the summer and grain in the winter. What is the real poop on cowbirds?

The later part is much closer to the way it really is. In the fall and spring they'll migrate and blacken the sky. Just like Starlings, at night they'll roost in large communitys and cover the trees and ground with the real poop.

dun
 

Will

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This will tell you more than you want to know:
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/cattleegret.htm :kid:

 

dun

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Campground Cattle":1ssgbekh said:
There egrets and they feed on the bugs that the cattle kick up while their feeding. Crank up a tractor with a bush hog and you will have 50 or more following the tractor in ten minutes.

Another of those regional differences. Cattle egrets we call egrets, brownheaded cowbirds are called cowbirds.

dun
 

D.R. Cattle

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Noticed something very interesting the other day while I was mowing. Horses would not let the cowbirds light on their backs. As a result the horseflies were landing on the horses backs in an area that their tail could not reach. The cows that would let the cowbirds light on their backs did not have this problem. The birds were keeping a close eye on their backs for flies to land. They would also peck at the cows feet when a horsefly landed there. And who said cows weren't smart?
 

Campground Cattle

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dun":3by3v97o said:
Campground Cattle":3by3v97o said:
There egrets and they feed on the bugs that the cattle kick up while their feeding. Crank up a tractor with a bush hog and you will have 50 or more following the tractor in ten minutes.

Another of those regional differences. Cattle egrets we call egrets, brownheaded cowbirds are called cowbirds.

dun

I have never seen the brown headed ones here, crazy what a difference a few miles makes.
 

Beefy

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We get them both here. Egrets i like, cowbirds i dont like. the swarms that dun mention usually coincide with a few runny eyes, one of the reasons i dont like them..they spread diseases in addition to kicking out baby birds that actually belong in the nest.

It is funny to watch cattle egrets chasing behind a mower, especially with all the black grasshoppers that have taken over this year.
 

la4angus

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We get the ones that light on the cattles back and eat the bugs.
They also eat insects off the ground. Some call them cowbirds, some call them egrets, some call them both.
I don't know which they are.
 

Beefy

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they both light on cattle.

cowbird

[url]http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpecies_LI.asp?imageID=17382[/url]

egret

[url]http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpecies_LI.asp?imageID=17668[/url]
 

Beefy

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they are totally different. one is a white bird, one looks like a blackbird. they both light on the backs of cattle and feed and they both light on the ground and feed.
 

la4angus

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Beefy":32l0pe91 said:
they are totally different. one is a white bird, one looks like a blackbird. they both light on the backs of cattle and feed and they both light on the ground and feed.
The ones that we see around here are the white ones.
 

D.R. Cattle

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I guess we've been wrong all of these years. We call egrets cowbirds but they do have variations in color from snow white to brownish looking. Good fly controllers. Love em.
 

Craig-TX

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We always called the egrets cowbirds. The brown headed ones come thru during migration but don't hang around.

Craig-TX
 

dun

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Craig-TX":kauj9qi5 said:
We always called the egrets cowbirds. The brown headed ones come thru during migration but don't hang around.

Craig-TX

Around here you hardly ever see egrets, although they're not uncommon west of here.
The accursed cowbirds winter here in smallish flocks. They also migrate through in the spring and fall, but they also stay and breed here too.
The main cowbird function is served by wild turkeys.
Maybe there aren't many egrets because the people coming in from CA think they're turkeys

dun
 

Michelle Pankonien

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Hey there,

we have these, and sometimes we wish we had a whole lot more of them

cattle egrets, cowbirds all the same darn critter, they ride the cattle walk on the ground and run after grass hoppers as the cattle stir them up, are fun to watch, in College station about 1993 or 1994, there was a flock of them that took over this mans place, they actually covered the ground like a thick blanket they were professionaly exterminated, and the remains burried or burned I can not remember which, but these cuased a serious helth risk do to the large amount of Poo and the dead bodies from dead birds and young that had died, not sure what caused the population explosion.

Anyway they are helpfull, they are usually white, and I always thought that the brown looking feathers were just dirty feathers from dust and what not, but I have seen several that have a tan tint to them, they don't really like people, but they really LOVE a tracter with a mower or shredder behind it, brings them out every time.
 
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