cowbird

Definitions

  • YELLOWBIRD NEST, SHOWING COWBIRD EGG
    YELLOWBIRD NEST, SHOWING COWBIRD EGG
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n cowbird North American blackbird that follows cattle and lays eggs in other birds' nests
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Cowbird (Zoöl) The cow blackbird (Molothrus ater), an American starling. Like the European cuckoo, it builds no nest, but lays its eggs in the nests of other birds; -- so called because frequently associated with cattle.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cowbird An oscine passerine bird of America, belonging to the family Icteridæ and genus Molothrus; especially, M. ater or M. pecoris, so called from its accompanying cattle. It is polygamous and parasitic, depositing its eggs in the nests of other birds, like the European cuckoo, and leaving them to be hatched by the foster-parents. The male is from 7½ to 8 inches long, glossy black with metallic sheen and a chocolate-brown head; the female is smaller and dull dark-brownish. This species is very abundant in the United States. The bronzed cow-bird. M. æneus, is a larger species, found in Texas and southward; there are several others in the warmer parts of America. Also cow-blackbird and cow-bunting.
    • n cowbird A name sometimes given in Great Britain to the rose-colored pastor, Pastor (Thremmaphilus) roseus. Macgillivray.
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Usage

In literature:

They're all related to Redwing the Blackbird, and Sally Sly the Cowbird belongs in the same family.
"The Burgess Bird Book for Children" by Thornton W. Burgess
Cow-bunting, or cowbird (Molothrus ater).
"Wake-Robin" by John Burroughs
Meanwhile, peeping and spying, along comes a Cowbird.
"Citizen Bird" by Mabel Osgood Wright and Elliott Coues
But Uncle Wiggily took his crutch, and tickled the cowbird so that she sneezed, and had to fly away without doing any harm.
"Uncle Wiggily's Travels" by Howard R. Garis
You know she follows the cows about so much that we house people call her the cowbird.
"The Magic Speech Flower" by Melvin Hix
Without exactly knowing why, we took alarm, and larks, bobolinks, and cowbirds sped upward like the wind.
"Dickey Downy" by Virginia Sharpe Patterson
The cowbirds, male and female, are all free lovers.
"Some Spring Days in Iowa" by Frederick John Lazell
The cowbird's tactics are probably to watch the movements of the parent bird.
"Bird Stories from Burroughs" by John Burroughs
This subspecies of the Brown-headed Cowbird is uncommon in Coahuila.
"Birds from Coahuila, Mexico" by Emil K. Urban
Who has ever seen two cowbirds fighting a duel like the orioles, meadowlarks, and robins?
"Our Bird Comrades" by Leander S. (Leander Sylvester) Keyser
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In news:

ERHS's one-act entry is 'The Cowbird,' serious tale of pre-war Nazi Germany.
Cowbirds are one of the most common avian brood parasites .
Making matters worse was an invasion of brown-headed cowbirds, which lay their eggs in warblers ' nests.
In 2009, USDA agents euthanized more than 4 million red-winged blackbirds , starlings, cowbirds, and grackles, primarily using pesticides that the government says are not harmful to pets or humans.
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