A cowbird is a kind of slender blackbird with a brown head.  It lays its eggs in the nest of other birds.

Long ago, the cowbird was really a “buffalo” bird.  It got its food by following herds of buffalo and eating the insects that lived on the buffaloes’ backs or that were kicked up by the feet of the grazing animals.

But the cowbirds could not raise a family and follow the buffaloes that were always moving about in search of new grasslands.

So the cowbirds left its eggs in care of a foster bird.


Then it could fly off and follow the buffaloes while the foster bird hatched and raised both the cowbird’s young and her own.

When the buffalo became scarce, the cowbird began following cows.  That, of course, is how the cowbird got its name.

The cowbird lay its eggs in other birds’ nests while the other birds are away.  The foster parents do not seem to realize that they are raising an outside along with their own babies.

They young cowbirds never see their parents.  But, when grown, they behave like cowbirds, and not like the birds that raised them. – Dick Rogers