My backyard is a constant source of delight for me–thanks to Wayne’s green thumb and hard work.  This week was filled with several beautiful moments.

We have new baby birds, cardinals and sparrows, flapping their wings and demanding food for their overworked parents.

A Brown-headed Cowbird pair has taken up residence.  The male displays a subtle beauty–glossy black feathers on its body and a warm, cocoa brown head.  Notorious for their lazy parenting, the female Cowbird lays her eggs in nests built by others–turning over the care and feeding of her babies to another bird.  A female Cowbird in peak production can lay as many as three dozen eggs in one year.

Most fascinating of all, this week, was our sighting of an Indigo Bunting.  The male of that species appears to be the most vibrant hue of blue of any bird.  In actual fact, this bird is really black.  The unique structure of its feather create an optical illusion of color caused by light defraction.


Interestingly, the Brown-headed Cowbird has a preference for using the nest of the Indigo Buntings, explaining why the two showed up in the same week.   If the Cowbird is a bit premature and deposits an egg before the Bunting has laid any, the Bunting will abandon the nest and build another.  But if the Cowbird times it right, after the Bunting starts laying its own eggs, the Bunting pair doesn’t object to their role as foster parents.