Great Big Baby
PASSERIFORMES. ICTERIDAE. Molothrus ater. Baby Cowbird being fed by Parula. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville, Florida. 2012.
This photo isn't as sharp as I would have liked, but it tells an interesting story. The chick is a Brown Headed Cowbird. The "parent" is a Parula Warbler. Notice that the chick is twice as big as its "parent"! Cowbirds are nest parasites. They lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and then leave the other birds to raise their young, often at the expense of the the host's young. Sometimes they will push eggs from the host parents out of the nest, assuring the survival of their own chicks. In this scene, there was a pair of Parula Warblers, flying frantically back and forth trying to feed their insatiable, loud, giant baby.