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Image of flycatcher (Eastern Phoebe) nest in the wild. The bird with a red outline where feathered face meets beak is a Brown-headed Cowbird. The chicks with smaller, paler beak-face borders are of the offspring of the flycatchers that made the nest. Image Š Mārk E. Hauber.

Another flycatcher nest with one cowbird. The cowbird has the big, open mouth on the left side of the picture. Image Š Mārk E. Hauber.

In addition to nesting in forested and streamside rock outcrops of the gorges of Ithaca, NY, they also build their mud nests under eaves, porches, and inside barns and garages in suburban and countryside houses. Parasitic cowbirds easily find phoebe nests at people's houses. About 30 percent of flycatcher (phoebe) nests in the scientists’ Upstate New York study site contained parasitic cowbird eggs. Here a parasitic cowbird chick is almost ready to fly away and leave the flycatcher nest for good. [Image Š Mārk E. Hauber]

An experimenter checks the content of a phoebe nest: freshly hatched young! Image Š Mārk E. Hauber.