I wonder if there has been some mis-intepretation either in the article or by subsequent readers. Cowbird young, like other passerines, leave the nest in the care of parents (foster or otherwise) and live outside the nest from then on. (OK individuals may hop outside during the day and return at night for the day or two over which they fledge.) Care for cowbirds in the fledgling stage lasts a similar time to their relatives, red-winged blackbirds and other smallish icterids. They should be fed and be following or calling to parents over the next 12-14 days, not joining older cowbirds. Teenagers would be perhaps yearling cowbirds? It is later, in summer and fall, when young cowbirds are independent of parents, that they flock up with other cowbirds and blackbirds.
I haven’t heard anything about 3 am gatherings from Meredith or her students. Seems pretty dark for any such passerine to be moving. West and King studied them in aviaries and it could be that researchers got up at 3 am to set up and be there when singing started to happen. But in any case, cowbird song learning is a fascinating situation where the basic songs are clearly not learned from parents during late nestling or early fledgling periods, i.e. develop “innately”, but are socially modified in a number of ways, feedback from female cowbirds and from competing male cowbirds both. West and King published several really nice overviews in accessible papers, Scientific American or American Scientist, I believe. By the way, there is at least one video-documented report of a hatchling cowbird behaving like cuckoos and butting host eggs out of the nest. Anne B Clark 147 Hile School Rd Freeville, NY 13068 607-222-0905 anneb.cl...@gmail.com > On Apr 11, 2020, at 9:11 AM, Magnus Fiskesjo <magnus.fiske...@cornell.edu> > wrote: > > This morning, a male cowbird singing, at Salt Point. Never heard that before. > A very low volume series of thin crispy notes. No clucking, as in some > recordings of its song. > > The bird sat very close, on top of the little pine/fur tree at the lakeside > fork of the path to the Bluebird Path. > > It refused to leave its perch and continued singing even as I stood right > under the tree. > > Ps. the weirdest cowbird research for me was the Living Bird piece reporting > on how a cowbird knows it is a cowbird, and not a whatever other bird, > despite being raised by them as slave parents. It was discovered that the > grown chick gets up at 3am and leaves the slaving foster parents' nest, to go > hang out with other teenager cowbirds in a nearby field. Next question is, > how do hey know that they should get out of bed at 3am and go to the field > party and get to know their cowbirdness? > ps. I could not find the reference to the Living Bird magazine article where > I read this. I only find this partial account, also interesting but no > mention of the teenager party: > https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/if-brown-headed-cowbirds-are-reared-by-other-species-how-do-they-know-they-are-cowbirds-when-they-grow-up/ > > -- > Magnus Fiskesjö > n...@cornell.edu > _________________________________ > From: bounce-124539965-84019...@list.cornell.edu > [bounce-124539965-84019...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Michael H. > Goldstein [michael.goldst...@cornell.edu] > Sent: Friday, April 10, 2020 8:05 PM > To: CAYUGABIRDS-L > Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] Cowbirds > > Cowbirds are crazier than you think…check out the research by Meredith West > and Andrew King on the role of female cowbirds (who don’t sing) in shaping > the development of juvenile males' song by using rapid wing gestures: > http://www.indiana.edu/~aviary/Research/female%20visual%20displays.pdf and > more generally, http://www.indiana.edu/~aviary/Publications.htm > > Cheers, > Mike > > > > On Apr 10, 2020, at 7:49 PM, Peter Saracino > <petersarac...@gmail.com<mailto:petersarac...@gmail.com>> wrote: > > I was having a cup of coffee looking out the window at 3 male and 3 female > cowbirds going at the sunflower seeds. As I watched them it dawned on me that > all of them were raised by foster parents!!! > According to the Lab of O: > "the cowbird does not depend exclusively on a single host species; it has > been known to parasitize over 220 different species of North American birds". > Crazy, wild stuff. > Pete Sar > -- > Cayugabirds-L List Info: > Welcome and Basics<http://www.northeastbirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME> > Rules and Information<http://www.northeastbirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES> > Subscribe, Configuration and > Leave<http://www.northeastbirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm> > Archives: > The Mail > Archive<http://email@example.com/maillist.html> > Surfbirds<http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds> > BirdingOnThe.Net<http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html> > Please submit your observations to eBird<http://ebird.org/content/ebird/>! > -- > > _______________________________________________________________ > Michael H. Goldstein > Associate Professor > Director, Eleanor J. Gibson Laboratory of Developmental Psychology > Director, College Scholar Program > Department of Psychology, Cornell University > 270 Uris Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853 > > Office 607-793-0537; Lab 607-254-BABY; Fax 607-255-8433 > https://psychology.cornell.edu/michael-h-goldstein > > Cornell B.A.B.Y. 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