We had a couple new visitors out back this morning...
I got a bowl of cereal and took Doogie out to let him play....it was quite awhile before he realized the geese were even back there. They swam around peacefully for awhile, got up on the far "shore" to roam around, and just did the usual goosey stuff. Whatever that might be. While they were back there, I also noticed a couple oddly shaped birds up in the trees back in the woods. God the binoculars and realized there was a pair of wood ducks. It's just...odd...seeing ducks in trees. Doesn't seem like a very natural thing for birds with their body shape to do.
Anyhow, after awhile the geese started making a bunch of noise, which really startled Doogie and he came up to the safety of the deck. A few minutes later and they took off.
It really is kinda cool to just see a couple of big birds like this flying down the row of backyards...
I figure they were off to find another pond somewhere...maybe they're looking for somewhere to nest?
Poor Doogie was one confused pup!
And since we're on the topic of birds - these guys are doing just fine. Here's what they looked like about 10 minutes ago.
And it turns out there IS a nest in the other tree on the front porch... I'm gonna have to say two of these look like they don't quite belong!
So of the seven (!) eggs, I'm guessing the five in the foreground are house finches, and after a little Googling, I've found the other two are brown-headed cowbird eggs. It seems brown-headed cowbirds are known for parasitizing the nests of other birds, sneaking in around the time the birds are laying their eggs (but are away from the nest), and dropping in an egg of their own. Looks like brown-headed cowbirds can lay A LOT of eggs in a short period of time, and go around plunking their own eggs in other birds nests, sometimes even bumping out one of the original eggs before laying one of their own so the mother bird may not known something's up based on a count. It also seems that cowbird eggs hatch, on average, a couple days earlier than those of other birds, so that the cowbird young will get more attention from the mother bird. In some cases the nest-building bird will notice the foreign eggs and will kick them out, while others tolerate the imposters, often at the detriment of their own young. They won't be able to cover all the eggs to keep them warm, or they won't be able to feed all the young. And since the cowbirds are often the bigger bird, they're apparently more likely to get all the food.
Oh, and another bit of info shows that a cowbird will normally only lay one egg per nest it sneaks into. So did I get one overzealous female cowbird here, or did two visit this nest? We HAVE been having more cowbirds show up lately - and they're pretty, they don't appear to pick fights with the other birds (unlike the starlings), etc...
So I'm torn. Should I take out the two bad eggs? Should I take out one cowbird egg and one housefinch egg? Should I just leave it alone? What do you guys think?