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Blackbird Behavior

YHBL-BHCO-Bow

Today I saw a strange behavior; a Brown-headed Cowbird (BHCO) bowing before a Yellow-headed Blackbird (YHBL). Wherever the YHBL was, the nearest BHCOs would assume a crouching position and lower its head (see above photo). Both sexes of BHCO would “bow” near the YHBL. The BHCO would then move toward the YHBL while keeping its head bowed; the YHBL would react by either flying off or pecking at the BHCO’s head. The BHCOs would not fly when pecked at. The three times I saw this behavior it was the YHBL that would fly off and leave.

YHBL-BHCO-bow2

Can someone comment on this behavior? I could anthropomorphize this behavior and explain it as the little cowbird subjects were bowing to their golden-clad sun god. Or is it the BHCO’s way of telling the YHBL to get lost?

2 Responses to “Blackbird Behavior”

  1. Judy Kestner Says:

    I like the sun-god explanation myself. Very amusing behavior!

  2. JOHN M. CYS Says:

    Laura
    Very interesting observation and good photos! Please let me know what the final interpretation is or, better yet, summarize on TEXBIRDS. Also apperas to be spring displays being done in the fall.

    John M. Cys
    Wichita Falls, TX