This pair of Brown Headed Cowbirds were quite bold as I passed them on a recent riverside walk. They stayed on the fence and barely acknowledged me as I took my phone from my pocket and raised it to take the photo. Usually, when you try to photograph birds at a close range, they fly off at the slightest motion.

This pair was perhaps scouting for a nest to lay their next clutch of eggs.

The female Brown Headed Cowbird isn’t the domestic type, nor what you’d call the ideal parent. She doesn’t bother with building her own nest. Instead, she busies herself laying eggs (up to 3 dozen per summer) in the nests of other birds, thus fostering every brood to the care of other bird mamas.

I tried to crop this photo in post processing in order to get the focus more on the birds, but cropping pixelated the image too much, so I left it “as shot”.

“There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes. Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?”

Henry David Thoreau