Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 1999


Published in Great Plains Research 9 (Spring 1999). Copyright © 1999 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Your attitude toward cowbirds and other brood parasites may be largely influenced by the nature of your experience with them. If your primary contact with brood parasites occurs when they appear with the host species you are watching, studying, or researching, it is easy to side with those who have characterized cowbirds as feathered wretches, social outcasts, arch villains, or pests of the highest order. If the focus of your attention is on cowbirds themselves, however, you may be more likely to view them as highly adapted, fascinating components of the ecosystem. If you are not already in the second category, you should be after reading Catherine Ortega's Cowbirds and Other Brood Parasites.