Not having been out there in a couple of weeks I made my way to Reifel this afternoon to help out on the trails. It was not overly busy people wise and things were fairly quiet on the birding front. The sanctuary has a number of nest boxes for birds like Swallows, Wood Ducks and one larger one intended for Barn Owls.
However, the only thing I have seen in the owl box in recent years is Raccoons. Later in the afternoon the Swallows were particularly busy in the west marsh area.
There were some recently fledged Tree Swallows roosting in a tree,
… and actively being fed by adult birds. Too bad they were so far away. Then just as I was about to leave, something odd caught my attention. A male Brown-headed Cowbird alighted on the same branch as the fledgling Tree Swallow.
It then slowly made its way closer until it was right beside it. The whole time it had its head down in what appeared to be a submissive posture. The swallow eventually moved to another branch and the Cowbird at no time was aggressive toward the fledgling. Not too sure what to make of this behaviour. If you have any ideas let me know.
After some volunteer work at Reifel there was still time for a walk. The weather was not the greatest with overcast skies and intermittent showers. I started by watching a few groups of sparrows, always on the lookout for something out of the ordinary.
But it was just the regulars present today.
Then there is the bane of the songbird world.
The Brown-headed Cowbird is a brood parasite. They make no nest of their own with the female laying her eggs in the nests of other species. These other birds will then raise the young along with their own.
Some shorebirds have been frequenting the inner ponds the last few days.
This Lesser Yellowlegs foraging and catching what looks like a small invertebrate.