A Bird Haiku Per Day in May Day 19: Brown-headed Cowbird

Photo by Jeremy Schwartz

Hood of chocolate brown

jet black below like a cloak

Nesting birds, watch out

With the jet-black body of a crow topped by a brown hood, brown-headed cowbirds can be almost pretty in the right light. They can be found in fields and suburban green spaces foraging on the ground with other types of blackbirds. Though not particularly noteworthy to the eye, cowbirds stand out in the way they raise their young. That is to say, they don’t. Female cowbirds will lay their eggs in the nests of other species and leave their young to be raised by the involuntary foster mother. This behavior is called “brood parasitism.”


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