My name is Moe, short for Molothrus ater, and I held still, for a bird anyhow, so the photographer could fire off a decent shot…
What do you think? Mom always said I was good-looking in an off-beat way, although not exactly what she was expecting…
So please don’t hate me when I tell you my secret.
I’m a Cowbird.
And my biological mom was a Cowbird too, of course.
But the only Mom I knew, the Mom who hatched and raised me, was a Red-Winged Blackbird. And we both love each other like sons and Moms do!
Problem is, when it comes time to reproduce, I have to find another Cowbird. And we Cowbirds can’t make nests, so she’ll lay her eggs in some other bird’s nest.
We try hard as we can to find a good home for our eggs, looking for cup-shaped nests. But it doesn’t always work out.
If our chicks are lucky, the adoptive Mom may be a Blackbird like my own Mommy. But some Cowbird eggs get laid in Finch nests, and Cowbird babies can’t survive on the vegetarian Finch diet. So it’s not all bugs and worms for us Cowbird chicks.
Anyhow, thanks for reading my story, and I hope you understand that I didn’t choose to be a Cowbird, and I love my Blackbird Mom as much as any of her other chicks.
I wanted so much to grow up a Red-Winged Blackbird like my brothers and sisters.
But genes are genes. I’m a Molothrus ater, aka Cowbird, and my Red-Winged Blackbird Mom loves me and I love her. And that’s my hard fate and a hard fact.
Nature can be weird.
P.S. Here’s my favorite picture of Mom, standing outside the diner where she taught me to go for a square meal: