Wildlife photographer Laurie Wolf discovered this odd couple in her backyard in Jupiter, Florida: An adult eastern screech owl and a yellow-and-black duckling.

It was quite surprising to see them together. In fact, she found it unbelievable.

Out of concern that the chick might be in danger of becoming a meal for its surrogate mom, Wolf contacted a local bird expert who confirmed that her concerns were reasonable.

Unfortunately, her attempts to catch the chick and place it with a local wildlife sanctuary were unsuccessful.

But this story is not as straight forward as it may seem. It could be said that the predatory screech owl is the real victim here, not the chick.

See, the chick is a member of the wood duck species, a species classified as a brood parasite.

In other words, it is a bird species that actively tries to get other species of birds to raise their young. It takes advantage of gullible birds to get out of raising its own chicks!

No one knows why other birds bother to care for chicks that aren’t their own. We have no idea if they even realize these chicks are a different species.

We do know that brood parasites use “protection racket” type tactics: If you reject their egg, the odds are good they will wreck your nest, destroying your biological offspring before they can hatch.

Cue Godfather style implied threats, like “It would be a shame if something happened to your eggs, know what I mean.”

So species that go along with raising the brood parasite eggs survive better than those that don’t cooperate.

It’s a jungle out there — even in North American backyard nests.