More Cowbird!

AFter an excellent plant-shopping trip to Monches Farm this weekend, (Mom and I both managed to stay within $10 of our gift certificate amounts)we headed back to Mom and Dad's (and Grandma and Grandpa's) place for a while. While chatting on the deck, I learned that the bird nest near their door had been invaded! Check out this photo (also at right). There are four bluish eggs with a few dark spatters (these are the housefinch eggs). Then, there is a slightly larger egg that isn't blueish and is covered with brown speckles. This, apparently, is a cowbird egg!

If all goes as the dastardly cowbird has planned, her egg will hatch first, to get a head start of the growing. The greedly little chick will then eat up more than it's share of the food that its adopted mother brings back to the nest, and will grow to take up much of the nest. Eventually, the housefinch chicks will likely die from a combination of insufficient food, and a lack of nest space.
Mom was told that it's illegal to interfere with the cowbird's scheme, but I've not been able to confirm or deny it. Any birders out there know the situation?
UPDATE!: Apparently, under some federal Migratory Birds Treaty Act, the cowbird is a protected species. The list is here. Bad luck for the finches, eh?

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