Common Misconceptions to Watch Out For
- Birds use nests all year long. Birds only use nests as a place to incubate eggs and raise young. Once chicks fledge, adults and young do not typically continue to use the nest. However, some birds will return to the same general areas to nest year after year.
- Cowbirds are a pest species that should be eliminated. Cowbirds are a brood parasite, meaning they lay their eggs in nests of other species. Baby cowbirds grow fast and can crowd out other chicks. This is an example of a species using an alternative reproductive strategy. Cowbirds are native to the United States and therefore are protected by law, so it is illegal to harm them. Some birds are able to recognize and reject cowbird eggs.
- Two parents are needed to raise the young. In many birds like hummingbirds and woodcock, the female raises the young all by herself. In other birds like crows and blue jays, parents recruit nannies, usually former offspring, to help protect and feed the young. There is a lot of variability on how and who raises the young and makes the nest based on species.