Cow + Bird = Cowbird

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Some birds are cows. It's a fact. Most avian creatures take a nibble here. A nibble there. But there's a special type of bird known for its gluttony. No amount of seed can tame their feral hunger.

 

FTM Creature #45

 

Cowbirds are not shy about eating. Cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, nuthatches—these winged aerial acrobats don’t like stuffing their beak in front of large bipedal mammals. There are exceptions, of course.

 

Bovine birds will graze from an open trough and not think twice about eating every sunflower seed available. They sure as hell ain’t counting calories and they sure as hell don’t care about anyone’s intrusion (probably). And the population is increasing. Why? Because cowbirds eat the whole trough (not really).

 

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Yum!

 

Many birds usually have a few friends nearby. Crows or ravens join a gang at an early age, and cowbirds are also known to form herds. It’s not uncommon to observe five cowbirds grazing from the same feeder…at the same time. Usually when someone says to themselves: “Gee…I’d like to feed the birds”—what they mean to say is this: “Gee… I’d like to feed the cowbirds.”—because that’s who gonna take all the food (if they’re in the area. Sorry chickadees).

 

Male cowbirds look much different than the females, and they can be larger. Their brown hoods gleam in the sunshine, while female cowbirds prefer an even colored grayish or tan plumage, because it’s more stylish.

 

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Brown-headed Cowbird (Male)

 

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Cowbird (Female)

 

 

Cows have a distinct form of communication: Moooooo…and other undefinable nasal grumbles. Cowbirds also have a distinct form of communication…but I won’t attempt to give an impression. Sorry. You know how your mother told you not to chew your food while speaking? Cowbirds were never taught that lesson.

 

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Brown-headed Cowbird Bragging About Its Meal

 

Birds are able to socially stuff their beak in relative peace due to a little thing called a ‘pecking order’. Well…kind of. Lower status members of a flock may not be able to eat…but that’s not a big deal, right? There’s always tomorrow, and the pecking order ensures every member of the flock receives another opportunity to eat…

 

…Unless…

 

A cowbird swoops down and flaps all the finches and sparrows off the communal seed trough….because…there’s a pecking order. And they should have known better.

 

Are you bored? Perhaps you don’t mind wasting the next few minutes of your life? Great! Then hit the play button below and watch a cowbird stuff its beak.

 

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About FlyTrapMan (200 Articles)
I have no idea what I'm doing.

16 Comments on Cow + Bird = Cowbird

  1. Did you see my post about my bird ? Lol i call it the mocking bird since he poses until i get the camera out 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never seen this bird before; had to look it up. It acts like a cuckoo, but supposedly not related. Thanks for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think cowbirds lay their eggs in different nests and expect other birds to take care of their young…assuming the eggs aren’t destroyed.

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  3. Mooooo? Chewing cud noises?? See, I can only imagine what a cowbird sounds like, because the link about their distinct communication is the exact one as the pecking order link on your post. Sigh.

    Still, a very fascinating post! I’d never heard of cowbirds before or their parasitic egg ways, so thank you, Professor Fly! 🐦 🐤 🐣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a story, what a bird! What a picture and what a video. That cow bird is seemingly a real survivor. He looks like a type of finch. I have a sneaky feeling you are a bit of a birder at heart, and you certainly have some nice shots of various birdies. Have you perhaps made yourself a hide and set-up to attract our feathered friends?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Female cowbirds look a little like house finches, but they’re larger and have slightly different plumage.

      I never built a hide. I’m fortunate enough to have a tree outside my window. There’s also a seed trough outside a different window and that attracts a variety of birds.

      Like

  5. Must’ve been a loner; where are her eating buddies, or perhaps the male is more sociable?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha — the rest of the cows were in a nearby tree. Male cowbirds tend to be rambunctious and they usually bully smaller birds. I have seen plenty of male cowbirds eating out of the same feeder — they’ll tolerate each other (and similar sized birds).

      Liked by 1 person

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