Cowbird Imposters

A brown-headed cowbird is a strange mother bird. Instead of making a nest for her young, she secretly searches for a nest of another bird and lays her egg in that nest. Sometimes the mother cowbird will damage or remove the egg of the bird in the nest already, to give more advantage to her own cowbird.

The foster parents than unknowingly raise the young cowbird usually at the expense of their own offspring. Cowbirds require shorter incubation periods and usually hatch before other song birds. Cowbird eggs are usually always bigger with an odd shape compared to other song birds. Advantages such as these allow the cowbird to command the most food from their foster parents.

In some instances, the song bird catches the Cowbird sneaking into her nest and replacing or laying an egg. Some of the mother songbirds reject the egg and remove it from the nest. Other mother songbirds begin to fight with the Cowbird which can get quite ugly. Other song birds seem to notice something foreign in the nest, but they settle down quietly without so much as a peep, and warm the new egg with their feathers just as they do their own.

The Cowbird and Songbird grow up noticeably different. The Cowbird and Songbirds have different goals. The Songbirds put their energy in nest building while the Cowbirds put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes 3 dozen a summer. As most birds are known for nesting, Cowbirds are known as a “brood parasites” since they impose their young on others to take care of.

What are you, a nest builder or a brood parasite? Many times, people want to avoid the work. Young hatchling birds scream from the top of their lungs almost the second they begin to breathe air. It is not easy to feed these young birds. It also is not easy to build such a stable nest that can withhold almost any storm using no hands, only beaks, wings, and feet. It may be easier to  be a brood parasite in which you take your responsibility, and shove it in the nest of another when no one is watching.

Are you constantly looking for another nest to place your eggs or are you content with your own nest? This is a hard one for those who never seem to be happy. They get the white picket fence, the house  or “nest” of their dreams, the screaming hatchlings, but they are never satisfied.

When introduced to “new eggs”, do you reject them, destroy them, or adopt them? This may not be a permanent situation, but sometimes God places obstacles or foreign eggs in our “nests” so that we will learn to obey His leading. It is amazing that some bird species become the foster parents to these cowbirds and make sure they are well-fed and cared for, while other songbirds destroy the imposter egg without a second glance. I want to be more like the songbird who not only sees the imposter,  but loves them as if their own. Isnt this what Jesus does for us? Compared to Him, we are oddly spotted and stained with sin. Though we are made in his image, we are fallen specimens. We may appear to be an imposter. But Jesus died for our fraud. He holds us in His arms and adopts us calling us His children. We are to call him our Father. These cowbirds are a picture of what we look like to Christ. He feeds us, warms us, and loves us dearly – cowbird and all. Luke 12:24 “Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!”

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