In the past few weeks I've observed courtship behavior in several bird species, including Carolina wrens, mourning doves, northern cardinals, chickadees and titmice. Yesterday a female cowbird showed up with one of two male cowbirds that have been around for a couple of days:
Before long, a second male came to the feeder and landed in between the female and the first male, who then flared his tail and spread his wings while the incoming male extended its body with bill pointed skyward. The female went on with feeding behind the tube:
For a minute or so the two males alternately ate seeds and postured with extended bodies and bills pointing up, as they are doing in this (kind of fuzzy) photo:
After awhile, the first male walked around the tray toward the female until his head was very close to hers:
A short time after this, the female flew off to a tree branch, with the first male following and the second male a few seconds behind him. I could see them all on a branch, both males continuing their posturing.
Today, two male cowbirds came early. Later, I saw the female and one of the males here together, feeding together at two different feeders and on the ground. I'm not sure everything is settled yet. The female is still moving away a short distance when the male comes closer -- but so far I've observed only one male pursuing her. This was the first time I'd seen multiple cowbird suitors around the same female at once.
[All photos by Cathie Bird, April 18, 2022]