do cardinals eat other birds eggs

Q: After hearing some birds shrieking, I went to investigate and found a male and female cardinal chasing house sparrows away from a nest in a thick vine. The sparrows kept trying to come back but the male chased them off. Have you ever heard of cardinals taking over a sparrow nest?

A: There are a couple of possible explanations for the bird battle you observed, and I suspect the shoe was on the other foot in this situation. I have never heard of cardinals harming the eggs or nests of other birds so you can probably rule this out. Cardinals build their nests in the open, in shrubs or trees, while sparrows nest inside a cavity, such as a tree hole or nest box. This sounds like all the activity was occurring near an outside nest, which suggests that it belonged to the cardinals and the sparrows were interfering. The sparrows may have been trying to steal some material for their own nest.

Q: I thought juncos only fed on the ground, but during the spring-that-never-came I saw them feeding at my tube feeders and suet cage. Is this common or is it due to the strange weather?

A: Youre right, juncos are primarily ground feeders, scrabbling on open ground under trees and feeders for morsels of food. But theyve had to “think outside the box” during our prolonged, cold pre-spring. Many readers reported seeing juncos clinging to their feeders, especially those filled with suet, for life-sustaining calories. These resilient little birds saw other birds doing this and decided to give it a try.

Q: I was at the cabin and saw a bald eagle soaring overhead, then it was joined by what I think was an albino eagle. The second bird was pure white with black wing tips. What do you think?

A: Whenever I hear about an all-white bird with black tips on its wings I immediately think of a white pelican. This may seem like an odd diagnosis, but pelicans are about eagle sized (actually, theyre larger, but this bird may have been soaring above the eagle and looked smaller), and theyre white except for those characteristic black wing tips. An albino eagle is a rarity and such a bird would have no color in any of its feathers.

A bald eagle was soaring overhead when I saw it at the cabin, and it was joined, I believe, by an albino eagle. The second bird was pure white with black wing tips. What do you think?.

Q: When I went to investigate after hearing some birds scream, I discovered a male and female cardinal driving house sparrows from a nest in a dense vine. The male sparrow chased the rest of the flock away as they attempted to return. Is there any history of cardinals occupying a sparrow’s nest?

A: You are correct, juncos feed mostly on the ground, scrounging for food scraps on open spaces beneath trees and feeders. However, because of our protracted, chilly prespring, they have had to “think outside the box.” Numerous readers mentioned witnessing juncos clinging to their suet-filled feeders in search of life-sustaining calories. These hardy little birds decided to give it a try after observing other birds doing it.

A: Those small brown birds are most likely house sparrows, and it’s poisonous to combine house sparrows with bluebirds. Because they make cavity nests, just like bluebirds, sparrows compete fiercely for nest boxes. Sparrows will even pierce eggshells or kill a female bird on the nest in an attempt to evict the occupants of the nest box. Every time the sparrows attempt to build a nest, it’s critical to evict them and take any other necessary precautions to discourage them, like not leaving seed on the ground. Since sparrows are not native to the area, they are not covered by regulations meant to safeguard migratory birds. Here’s a link to a fact sheet that contains some great advice on deterring sparrows: www michiganbluebirds. org/problem-solving. Good luck with this. Sparrows can be very persistent but they can be thwarted.

Q: I used to believe that juncos only ate on the ground, but in the spring that never arrived, I noticed them using my suet cage and tube feeders. Is this typical, or is it a result of the unusual weather?

Birds: Backyard Birds Known To Eat Adult Birds

Red-Shouldered Hawk (Family: Accipitridae. Genus: Buteo)

Cooper’s Hawk (Family: Accipitridae. Genus: Accipiter)

Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Family: Accipitridae. Genus: Accipiter)

Common Grackle (rarely) (Family: Icteridae. Genus: Quiscalus)

do cardinals eat other birds eggs

Eggs: Backyard Birds Known To Eat Other Bird’s Eggs

Fish Crow (Family: Corvidae. Genus: Corvus)

American Crow (Family: Corvidae. Genus: Corvus)

Blue Jay (Family: Corvidae. Genus: Cyanocitta)

Common Grackle (Family: Icetridae. Genus: Quiscalus)

Brown-Headed Cowbird (Family: Icetridae. Genus: Molothrus)

Red-Bellied Woodpecker (Family: Picidea. Genus: Melanerpes)

Black-Capped Chickadees (reported in three studies) (Family: Paridae. Genus: Poecile)

do cardinals eat other birds eggs

The Black-Capped Chickadees were the bird that most surprised me. I’m not sure how common this is because I couldn’t find any other references to eating bird eggs in other sources. Although I have seen reports of them taking eggs out of bluebird nests, it seemed like they were doing it to compete for nesting spots. (Note: We see Carolina Chickadees in my yard instead of Black-Capped Chickadees.) There don’t appear to be similar reports for them. ).

All About Birds’ Brown-Headed Cowbird page suggests that the reason that female Brown-Headed Cowbirds will eat shells and eggs is a need for calcium. Their parasitic approach to laying many eggs in the nests of other birds makes calcium a priority apparently.

do cardinals eat other birds eggs

FAQ

Will a cardinal eat other birds eggs?

I have never heard of cardinals harming the eggs or nests of other birds so you can probably rule this out. Cardinals build their nests in the open, in shrubs or trees, while sparrows nest inside a cavity, such as a tree hole or nest box.

What birds destroy other birds eggs?

House Wrens, Troglodytes aedon. are notorious for destroying clutches of other birds, including those of conspecifics. The destruction usually involves pecking holes in eggs and removing the soft lining from the nest cup; ifsmall nestlings are present, they may also be killed (Kendeigh 1941).

Do cardinals mess with other birds nests?

“Someone told me that cardinals will take over other birds’ nests and raise any eggs present as their own. Is this true?” Male cardinals occasionally feed nestlings or fledglings of other species, although not because they have taken over another bird’s nest.

Do blue jays eat other birds eggs?

Blue Jays are known to take and eat eggs and nestlings of other birds, but we don’t know how common this is. In an extensive study of Blue Jay feeding habits, only 1% of jays had evidence of eggs or birds in their stomachs. Most of their diet was composed of insects and nuts.