The Little Nest

This week, I visited my aunt in Harleysville, Pa.  While there, she showed me this year's birds' nest in her front door wreath.  Last year, there was a nest in the same wreath however the mama bird abandoned the nest for some reason and the eggs never hatched.  After a few weeks of the eggs in this abandoned nest and no mother in sight, she decided to keep the nest.  We used this abandoned nest in some of the photos where she is holding it in her hands.

In the years past, she remembered that this mother bird always lays 5 eggs.  We decided to boost ourselves up to see inside this little nest and discovered something strange.  Four of the eggs were the usual slightly speckled white eggs while one was obviously larger and speckled brown.  We continued taking pictures and joked that another bird had left their egg in this mama's nest. 

That night I posted only one image on facebook and one of the comments said that it looked like our nest had been visited by a brown-headed cowbird because of the unusual egg.  I laughed at the name "brown-headed cowbird" at first but after doing a bit of research, we realized that this egg was an imposter egg in this mama's nest.  It actually is pretty common for the brown-headed cowbird to lay an egg in another bird's nest and then leave and depend on this other mother to care for her baby.  Sadly, we also read that since this different egg is so much larger it will often kill the mother's real babies after they hatch. 

Knowing how dangerous this bad egg can be to her nest, we quickly removed it with a spoon in order to give the mother's eggs a chance to survive.  Enjoy some other pictures of our day!