The Bad Habits of Cowbirds

September 29, 2006 by  
Filed under Features

Cowbirds have an unusual life strategy: they lay their eggs in other birds species‘ nests. North America’s Brown-headed Cowbird first evolved this strategy in order to follow herds of buffalo. The cowbirds fed on insects flushed up by the buffalo’s feet. As the buffalo migrated around the Great Plains, the cowbirds followed- even during the birds’ breeding season. If the cowbirds took care of nests, they couldn’t follow the buffalo. So they left their eggs behind in other songbirds’ nests.

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