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Nice article, but it fails to mention one very important fact about the cowbird. Once upon a time it was called the "buffalo bird", and its range was limited to the Great Plains, which was also the range of the American Bison. Buffalo birds evolved to be brood parasites because the adult birds depend on the bison herds for food. But the bison herds are always moving. If the birds stayed in one place to nest and raise their young, they would quickly lose their food source.
An ingenious solution to the problem, I suppose, but to my mind it makes cowbirds even more unpleasant than vultures.
"Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the host’s own chicks."